Portland Trail Blazers: Improbable 4 step plan to a win-now 2022 offseason

Washington Wizards Bradley Beal (Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports)
Washington Wizards Bradley Beal (Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Bradley Beal
Bradley Beal (Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports) /

Step 1: Sign and trade for a max free agent, preferably Bradley Beal

If this doesn’t happen, there’s no chance of the team becoming a fringe contender. Their two big pre-deadline trades opened up a lot of summer cap space, and with some cap chicanery, they could theoretically sign a max player outright. But because the final three steps of this plan will be very expensive, they should try to offload salary in any max signing.

Bradley Beal has been complimentary of Lillard in the past and understands Lillard’s burden of being the lone superstar on a middling team, so while his choosing the Blazers may feel unlikely, it should be more likely and prove a cleaner fit, than any other max free-agents to be.

The Blazers are well-equipped to sign a max guy and ship out low salary or partially guaranteed contracts like Justise Winslow, Eric Bledsoe, and Nassir Little (a combined $12 million guaranteed,) using either their 2022 first-round pick or New Orleans’ – which is likely to convey this year.

Maybe they even get a future protected first in the deal. Whatever (!) —this scenario only exists in a win-now universe. While getting Beal may seem improbable, it would make the final three steps more likely.