Blazers, Wizards both must sell their stars with moves at the trade deadline

Portland Trail Blazers Damian Lillard (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports)
Portland Trail Blazers Damian Lillard (Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports) /

Heading into the NBA Trade Deadline, the Portland Trail Blazers and Washington Wizards find themselves in very similar positions. 

The Portland Trail Blazers and Washington Wizards have a little more than 24 hours to prove to their respective stars that their respective front offices have a plan. That’s going to be extremely difficult to pull off, however.

Bradley Beal, who has been with the Wizards for the first 10 years of his pro career, has a big decision to make this offseason. He can opt out of the final year of his contract with the Wizards and test unrestricted free agency. Even though he has always said the right thing at every turn and has declined the temptation to demand a trade, it’s not a foregone conclusion that he will be a Wizard next season.

Even more so considering he opted for season-ending wrist surgery, which will give him even more time to take a step back and truly examine his situation in Washington.

In the Northeast, Damian Lillard has a similar process to go through. He’s currently sitting out with an abdominal injury and there’s no guarantee that he’s going to return this season.

Considering the moves that the Blazers have made in the last week, it’s clear that they’re pivoting to a retooling of the roster. However, all that currently remains on it actively is Jusuf Nurkic, Anfernee Simons, and the recently acquired young players from both the LA Clippers and New Orleans Pelicans.

On paper, it will be a tough sell for Lillard. Especially considering that Lillard will be 32 by the time next season begins. He likely does not want to be part of a rebuild and Portland needs to scramble quickly to rebuild this roster.

Both the Blazers and Wizards have one thing in common as the 2022 NBA Trade Deadline approaches – they have the opportunity, and probably a necessity, to improve the roster to help quiet at least some of the doubts their stars may have.

Both have assets to make a big move at the deadline and the ground is fertile for moves. There are multiple big names on the open market and the Blazers and Wizards need to do everything they can to land one.

NBA Trade Rumors: 9 bold predictions for the trade deadline. dark. Next

Neither franchise is in an envious position. But the future of both of them may be largely impacted by what they decided or decide not to do at the trade deadline.