The Portland Trail Blazers made a jump in the NBA lottery for the 2023 NBA Draft, moving into the top three. While the Blazers didn’t get the ultimate prize with the No. 1 pick and Victor Wembanyama, they were able to get in a strong position in a class that features three prospects widely regarded as ahead of the pack.
However, Portland finds itself in an interesting position ahead of the offseason. Franchise player Damian Lillard will be 33 when the 2023-24 season begins and the team might not be able to afford waiting on the development of a prospect, even if he is highly rated. The Blazers might want a more immediate contributor and with the No. 3 pick, they have a prime asset they can dangle in trade talks.
Here are some potential trades Portland can explore with the No. 3 pick.
Blazers get: Bradley Beal, Corey Kispert
Wizards get: Anfernee Simons, Jusuf Nurkic, No. 3 pick
The Blazers have future draft assets to send out in this deal if needed, although they’ll want to avoid that scenario if possible. Beal gives Lillard a legitimate backcourt threat, while Kispert offers a versatile 3-and-D wing player who will have some local support from his Gonzaga days. It might not put the Blazers over the top, but it certainly moves the needle in terms of playoff contention and gets Portland out of Nurkic’s deal.
The Wizards get an exciting young player in Simons to build around, along with the No. 3 pick. Nurkic’s contract isn’t great but he’s a decent filler option on a rebuilding team. Washington has been stuck in NBA purgatory for a long time, and this would be a good spot to reset things. It’ll also open up more playing time for the team’s younger players, who haven’t been able to develop behind veterans.
Blazers get: DeMar DeRozan, Alex Caruso
Bulls get: Anfernee Simons, Jusuf Nurkic, No. 3 pick
The Bulls hold Portland’s 2024 first-round pick as long as it lands outside of the lottery, so Chicago does have some incentive to make the Blazers a playoff team. Zach LaVine would be the ideal candidate for Portland given his ties to the area, but the Bulls aren’t going to deal their franchise guy. That means DeRozan likely gets the boot here. Caruso offers Portland a strong defensive wing player it desperately needs.
The Bulls get a point guard they have needed for a long time, while Nurkic can fill in if things don’t work out with Nikola Vucevic. The No. 3 pick helps Chicago accumulate young talent it needs to eventually compete as LaVine enters his prime. Chicago can also deal Nurkic again if it wants to work something out with Vucevic. The Bulls need some sort of reset and a path to contention around LaVine. Simons and the No. 3 pick could offer that reset.