The Portland Trail Blazers missed the postseason for the first time since the 2012-13 campaign this past season and traded a number of veterans in the process, including CJ McCollum.
But the goal this offseason appears to be a quick rebuild around superstar point guard Damian Lillard.
According to Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer, the Blazers are reportedly "exploring trades for veterans who can help Lillard lead the team back to the postseason." They've identified Washington's Bradley Beal and Chicago's Zach LaVine as "potential targets," per O'Connor.
The Blazers essentially have three avenues to acquire Beal:
- If Beal picks up his $36.4 million player option for next season, the Blazers would have to trade for him.
- If Beal opts out, the Blazers could either sign him outright (four years, $183.6 million) or agree to a sign-and-trade with Washington, assuming the Wizards will entertain that option.
Similarly, the Blazers would either have to sign LaVine outright or agree to a sign-and-trade with the Bulls.
Beal, 28, averaged 23.2 points and 6.6 assists this past season, shooting 45.1 percent from the field and only 30.0 percent from three. It was a down year from Beal after he posted a career-best 31.3 points per game in the 2020-21 season, though a torn ligament in his left wrist cut his 2021-22 season short.
The Blazers won't be alone in their Beal interest. Before February's NBA trade deadline and Beal's injury, the Sixers reportedly "worked during the season on a potential trade" to land the Wizards star, per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.
The Sixers acquired James Harden instead, though there has been buzz since that the team might look to land Beal this summer to pair with Joel Embiid and Harden.
Meanwhile, LaVine posted 24.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists per game this past season with the Bulls, though he took somewhat of a back seat to DeMar DeRozan, who had a career year.
Both Beal and LaVine would be excellent running mates for Lillard, though it remains unclear if either player is looking for a change of scenery. They will be two of the biggest names in free agency this offseason, and the Blazers make sense as a potential suitor if they are open to changing teams.