Bleacher Report proposes trade that lands the Thunder the No. 7 pick for Lu Dort
Bleacher Report's Grant Hughes suggested two different trades involving the Oklahoma City Thunder in his latest article, which lists surprising potential off-season trades for lottery teams.
One of the two involves sending Lu Dort and the 30th overall pick to the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for the 7th overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft.
"If I'm the Blazers, I'll hold out as long as I can in the hopes the Thunder will pick their pick 12th instead of 30th. But ultimately, whoever comes off the board in 7th place may never be as influential as there -- and that will certainly be the case in the time span that matters most to Portland... and it's right now.
Damian Lillard turns 32 in July, so there's an urgent need to surround him with playoff-ready talent. If the Blazers intend to keep Anfernee Simons as Dame's top scoring, similarly undersized backcourt partner, they desperately need a shutdown wing to wrestle opposing scorers.
The burly 23-year-old winger is an intimidating one-on-one stopper who has already shown his game holds up in the postseason. There's certainly a reason OKC is keeping Dort, given that he's young and only projected to make $1.9 million in 2022-23. But an unrestricted free hand and a substantial pay rise are both on the way next summer unless OKC declines his option and makes him a limited free agent this July - in which case that deal would be dead.
Dort's rising costs should be important to the Blazers, but not as much as his ability to get them back into the playoffs in the short term.
On the other hand, the Thunder already have a maximum salary for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in the upcoming season. Potential maximum overtimes for Josh Giddey and (eventually) the player they pick #2 in the draft could make shelling out $20 million a season for Dort a problem.
Better make a move now, add another potential star in 7th place and keep collecting lottery tickets. Realistically, Dort's presence won't stop the Thunder from landing in the lottery again next year. This conversion is still in its infancy. His impact on Portland could be far more significant.”
That sounds too good to be true for the Thunder. While Dort is a nice roleplayer who was a gem found as an undrafted front office free agent, the expectation of getting a top 7 pick for him in every draft is quite a stretch. There's a great defensive end whose offense and shooting have blossomed with the Thunder over the past two seasons, but if the team can get him that seventh overall win, do it in a jiffy.
Eliminating the 30th overall is a plus here as well, as the Thunder avoid awarding a third first-round rookie contract to the three they have to pay with already second, seventh, and 12th overall in this hypothesis . I'm also pretty confident that anyone who likes the Thunder at 30 will likely be there at 34 too, just with a far smaller rookie contract.
Funnily enough, this isn't the first time Bleacher Report has suggested a trade from Dort to Trail Blazers in the past week.
2022 NBA bill drafts: Oklahoma City Thunder after lottery picks projections
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