Portland Trail Blazers receive: Pascal Siakam
Toronto Raptors receive: Anfernee Simons, Nassir Little, Keon Johnson and No. 3 pick
If the Blazers are hanging onto Damian Lillard, they almost certainly won’t be hanging onto this pick. With his 33rd birthday arriving in July, he can’t wait for the franchise to draft and develop a prospect.
“I’m just not interested in that. That’s not a secret,” he told reporters in April. “I want a chance to go for it. And if the route is to [draft youth], then that’s not my route.”
This is about as big as the Blazers can go, at least without losing Shaedon Sharpe. Pascal Siakam isn’t quite a Tier-1 superstar, but he’s a top-30 talent (at least) who’s been the second-best player on a championship team before.
He just averaged 24.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 5.8 assists in what maybe wasn’t even his best season to date. He was one of five players with a 24/7/5 stat line; Nikola Jokić, Luka Dončić, Giannis Antetokounmmpo and LeBron James were the others.
Get Siakam to Portland, and he could settle in as the second option to Lillard. Both would benefit from having the other to help shoulder the load, and they could even work two-man magic together. If the Blazers can also bring back Jerami Grant, that’s an interesting trio with a lot of scoring, athleticism and talent. It isn’t a guaranteed contender, but it’s good enough for Lillard to think he has a chance.
The Raptors, as previously mentioned, rank among the league’s most obvious reset candidates this summer. If they’re starting over, the No. 3 pick and Anfernee Simons, a 23-year-old who just averaged 20 points for the first time, can help form a foundation with Scottie Barnes. Toronto would have time to wait and see if at least one of Nassir Little and Keon Johnson could emerge as keepers, too.
Statistics courtesy of Basketball Reference and NBA.com.
Zach Buckley covers the NBA for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter, @ZachBuckleyNBA.