The Portland Trail Blazers have been very active in the past couple of days, dealing players to other teams, trying to create a propitious situation for them in the 2022 NBA offseason. The Blazers tried to build a competitive team last year, but things didn't go in their favor.
That's why they have decided to blow things up and start over this next summer. Damian Lillard is still part of the team, and they hope they can bring the right help to take the squad to the top of the league. They already made business with the Los Angeles Clippers last week, and this morning, the Blazers parted ways with CJ McCollum, their second-best player.
This shows that the team is all-in trying to find the right pieces to build around Damian and after these moves, they are on the right track. Our Kyle Daubs writes that the Blazers have made some questionable moves in three of their last four trades, not receiving big assets in return for their players. Yet, the front office has different plans for the squad.
They shipped several players away to open some cap space for the summer, trying to lure a star to Moda Center. In the wake of the CJ McCollum trade, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN explained that they're trying to get as much salary cap space they have to assemble a competitive team come summertime.
Portland's plan is to fully reshape roster around Damian Lillard now. Portland created a $21M trade exception today, potentially $60M in salary cap space this summer, multiple draft picks and assets via Pels and Clippers trades. Plan is to pursue high-end talent now, not retreat.
This is an interesting approach by the Blazers, and although many would say Dame won't stay longer after CJ is gone, Lillard has expressed he wants to give this team another chance to see what they can create. If Portland lands another star in the offseason and assembles a well-rounded team, that would give Lillard his longed-for desire to have a real shot at the championship.
It's better not to assume he's thinking about leaving the Blazers. Lillard must be well aware of these moves and excited to see what's next for Portland.