Title: Portland Trail Blazers Eye Damian Lillard Trade to Fill Open Roster Spots for 2023-24 Season
Subtitle: Hypothetical Expansion Draft Scenario Offers Insight into Blazers’ Rebuilding Efforts
In their pursuit of rejuvenation, the Portland Trail Blazers find themselves with two vacant roster spots for the upcoming 2023-24 NBA season, sparking discussions about potential trades involving superstar Damian Lillard. With a focus on rebuilding rather than an immediate playoff run, General Manager Joe Cronin aims to make strategic choices that will propel the franchise back to prominence.
Recently, notable sports personalities Bill Simmons and Ryen Russillo engaged in an intriguing exercise, hypothesizing how the Blazers’ management would approach a hypothetical expansion draft if the NBA were to introduce two new franchises. This thought-provoking scenario provides a platform to speculate about Cronin’s strategy and the future make-up of the Blazers’ roster.
The last expansion draft took place in 2004, with each team allowed to protect up to eight players. At that time, the Charlotte Bobcats were required to select a minimum of 14 players, with the provision that they could choose only one player from any NBA team.
In line with the hypothetical expansion draft, the Blazers would likely protect their 2023 rookies and newly signed free agents, further adding to the pool of players to safeguard. These choices are crucial as they dictate the long-term direction of the franchise.
Outlining the article’s recommendations, it is suggested that the Blazers protect eight players, including the cornerstone Damian Lillard. Additionally, exciting prospects such as Scoot Henderson, Shaedon Sharpe, Anfernee Simons, Jerami Grant, Matisse Thybulle, Kris Murray, and Jabari Walker are deemed valuable assets to secure for the team’s rebirth.
Conversely, four players – Rayan Rupert, Nassir Little, Jusuf Nurkic, and Keon Johnson – are listed as potential candidates to be exposed in the expansion draft. Although it may seem risky, exposing Nurkic could present a win-win solution, enabling the Blazers to offload his contract while providing the veteran center an opportunity to contribute meaningfully to an expansion team.
The article concludes by highlighting that Little and Nurkic are likely to attract significant attention from expansion teams due to their undeniable talent and potential contributions at the NBA level. Whether these players will ultimately be chosen remains uncertain, but their skills are undoubtedly attractive to teams seeking to build a competitive roster.
As the Portland Trail Blazers contemplate the departure of Damian Lillard and the ensuing expansion draft scenario, fans eagerly anticipate the team’s next moves. With two open roster spots and a focused rebuild in mind, the Blazers aim to strike a balance between reinvigorating their lineup and setting the stage for long-term success.
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