3 players the Trail Blazers should trade for to help Damian Lillard

Credit: Emilee Chinn/Getty Images

As the Portland Trail Blazers look to retool around Damian Lillard, these three players should be their top trade targets.

After another early playoff exit, the Portland Trail Blazers decided to let head coach Terry Stotts go. They won’t land Damian Lillard’s preferred choice, Jason Kidd, but all indications are Lillard is not yet ready to force his way out of Portland. So that means reshaping the roster around him, and president of basketball operations Neil Olshey doesn’t seem inclined to entertain an overhaul anyway.

Improvement defensively will be critical for Portland, as they fell well short of competent on that end of the floor this season. Lillard’s long-time backcourt mate CJ McCollum is easy to put into any trade rumors, and center Jusuf Nurkic is apparently not happy with his role in Portland.

First on Portland’s agenda is hiring a new coach, as they undertake an expansive search that Olshey said could include 20-25 candidates. But then some trades should be on the radar, and these three players should be their top targets.

3. Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers

As an injury-shortened and at times dysfunctional season with the Cleveland Cavaliers wound down, Love openly professed his desire to team up with Lillard in Portland when speaking with Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Haynes. Love grew up in Portland, and graduated high school in Oregon.

“Who wouldn’t want to play with Dame Lillard, first of all,” he said. “Dame, he’s special. He’s amazing. I claim Portland when they ask me where I’m from. It’s where I spent all of my formative years. I grew up in Portland. When people ask where I was born, obviously I say L.A. But Portland is always going to be a special place in my heart. Whether it be at the end of my career, whether it be in six months, or whatever it may be, if I was wearing a Portland jersey, that’s special. That’s playing at home.”

Love is due roughly $60 million over the next two years, so as much as the Cavaliers may want to unload him, it won’t be easy. But it also might lower the asking price some, as long as the Trail Blazers can match salary. McCollum is an easy piece to include in a deal here, among multiple scenarios, but I went away from that for now.

Trail Blazers Get

PF Kevin Love

Cavaliers Get

SG Norman Powell

C Jusuf Nurkic

F Robert Covington

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