Too bad Danny Ainge isn't the Blazers' GM, eh? There are two things I feel pretty confident about headed into the draft:

1) There will be a player on the board when the Blazers are on the clock at #7 who will someday end up being a very good NBA player.

2) I have little faith that the Blazers will correctly identify who that player is.

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May 21, 2022Liked by John Canzano

The Blazers aren't winning through the free agent market. Look at the FA'S in 2023 it's not much better unless a few RFA this year take one year deals. Trading Dame is the only path to contending but how many serious destinations can there be? One I haven't seen anyone talk about is San Antonio. SA has three additional firsts between 2022-2025 plus all of their own. A couple young combo guards (Vassell and Primo) plus four picks (#9 and 25 in 2022, SA unprotected in 2024, and Chicago's 2025) would be a lot a bites at the apple for the next few years. We'd have a young core on the same timeline plus potential trades of Nurk on a SAT and Hart.

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The issue is that the Blazers have their head in the sand when it comes to Lillard. There isn’t anything that can be done to create a contender now with him. The best they can do is hope for a creative trade or two that nets them players at the Jerami Grant level. That screams a team desperate to climb back to a 6 seed and to sell tickets. Not contend.

And this talk of Ayton is dumb in the way it’s being proposed. You can’t go after him without renouncing Nurk, Hart, and the TPE’s, Ingles, etc. when it’s done, you have Dame, Ant, Ayton, some young unproven guys, and vet minimums filling out the team. That’s not getting the Blazers to contention.

Now if you want to trade Dame, then use those assets to make a sign and trade for Ayton, now you’re getting somewhere. You draft a guy like Mathurin, Dieng, or Sochan at 7, and you’ve now got and Ant/Ayton core on the same timeline and some other promising youngsters. You also have a fantastic cap situation that allows you to organically grow and look to spend in the summer of 2023. That is how this organization should be thinking holistically for the next generation of Blazer basketball. But Jody & Co. are a bunch of bumbling fools who just care about filling the arena around Dame while she prepares to set up for a sale.

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