Blazers ‘Willing’ to Trade No. 3 NBA Draft Pick for ‘Pretty Elite Player’

Any teams interested in acquiring the No. 3 pick in the 2023 NBA draft from the Portland Trail Blazers can expect to pay a steep price.

On the latest episode of The Woj Pod (starts at 12:10 mark), ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said he believes the Blazers could be “willing” to trade their top pick in a deal that nets them a “pretty elite player.”

One of the worst-kept secrets in the NBA right now is the Blazers would be happy to trade the third overall pick for a win-now player.

The lottery balls went in Portland’s favor by bumping the team up two spots from its original slot at No. 5. There has been no indication Damian Lillard wants to be traded, nor does the front office seem eager to move the seven-time All-Star.

Lillard told reporters on April 9 he’s “not interested” in having the Blazers draft another young player who will likely take multiple years to develop into a serious contributor on a winning team.

“I want a chance to go for it,” Lillard said. “And if the route is to (draft youth), then that’s not my route.”

NBA insider Marc Stein reported on his Substack last week that neither Lillard nor the Blazers “are ready to move on from each other.”

Per ESPN’s Zach Lowe, coming out of the draft lottery there was a feeling among rival executives that the No. 3 pick could be packaged with a veteran talent, presumably Anfernee Simons, in an attempt to acquire a high-quality player to pair with Lillard.

This is a good draft to have a top-three selection. While all of the attention right now is going to be on Victor Wembanyama likely going No. 1 to the San Antonio Spurs, Scoot Henderson, Brandon Miller and Amen Thompson are at the top of the next tier of prospects in this year’s class.

The Blazers have a combined record of 60-104 over the past two seasons. They have missed the playoffs in back-to-back years for the first time since 2011-12 and 2012-13, the latter being Lillard’s rookie campaign.