Immediately after winning the No. 3 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, the Portland Trail Blazers began floating the selection in NBA trade rumors. Now just days away from the draft beginning, the pick is generating significant interest.
While the Trail Blazers could trade Damian Lillard and rebuild their franchise around the top-three pick, that isn’t the plan. Portland is committed to Lillard, building a roster around him that could help lead to a playoff run.
As a result, the Trail Blazers have shopped the No. 3 overall selection around the league for several weeks. While a trade hasn’t come to fruition, multiple NBA teams have reportedly engaged in trade talks with Portland.
According to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, the Toronto Raptors and Washington Wizards have engaged in exploratory trade talks with a focus on acquiring a top-three pick.
Furthermore, per ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, teams around the league believe Toronto is a significant threat to make a move and could get aggressive to acquire a top pick in Thursday’s 2023 NBA Draft.
Toronto is an obvious trade partner for Portland. With Fred VanVleet poised to depart in free agency, the Raptors want to reshape their roster with a young core. Based on a growing belief that the Charlotte Hornets will draft Brandon Miller with the second pick, guard Scoot Henderson would be available at No. 3 overall.
- Pascal Siakam stats: 24.2 PPG, 7.8 RPG, 5.8 APG, .141 WS/48
In that instance, the Trail Blazers could explore a trade for Pascal Siakam. The 29-year-old power forward would be an ideal complementary player to share the court with Lillard. However, Portland might not be comfortable trading a top-three pick for Siakam unless he signs a contract extension.
As for the Wizards, Washington is unlikely to receive the No. 3 pick straight up for Bradley Beal. NBA insiders have indicated that the Wizards’ return for the All-Star guard won’t be nearly as strong as some expect. Instead, Washington might have to include the eighth overall pick in any blockbuster trade with Portland.
For now, it’s clear the teams are simply having preliminary talks to obtain more information before draft night. However, the 2023 NBA Draft could be one of the most active in terms of trades with several All-Star players available for the highest bidder.
This article was originally published on Sportsnaut.com and is republished here with permission.