By STEVEN VAUGHAN, 750 THE GAME
This is a golden time on the calendar for NBA fans.
The Conference Finals are wrapping up, the NBA Finals are almost here, the draft follows on June 22, and free agency and trades will dominate July headlines.
With the excitement comes rampant speculation and rumors. This year, the Trail Blazers find themselves at the center of much of the local and national conversation. Uncertainty over the future of Damian Lillard while Portland also holds the No. 3 overall pick is a natural debate starter. Trade the pick to acquire talent around an aging Lillard? Or trade Lillard and embrace the rebuild this summer around the No. 3 pick?
Bill Simmons, host of the Bill Simmons Podcast and massive Boston sports fan perked up the ears of Rip City with a trade proposal involving Celtics All-NBA wing Jaylen Brown and Portland’s third overall pick and guard Anfernee Simons.
“Let’s say it’s No. 3 and it’s Simons, and it’s a future first and a (first-round) swap,” Simmons hypothesized with co-host Ryen Rusillo. “Or maybe it’s just the number three and Simons. I don’t know what Brown’s value is. But you have No. 3 and Simons in it and maybe more, because as we’ve seen with these trades that we’ve had lately, I don’t know what the values are. But Jaylen Brown is a second-team All-NBA guy who’s 26 (years old).”
John Canzano has long said the Blazers should explore trading Damian Lillard in the offseason to begin the full rebuild. But he acknowledges if this trade offer for Jaylen Brown was real, the Blazers would have to listen.
“If you’re the Blazers and you can get Jaylen Brown for Anfernee Simons and the No. 3 pick you would think hard about it,” Canzano said on 750 The Game. “I don’t see Boston doing that deal, though. They would want Damian Lillard, not Simons.”
If, for whatever reason, the Celtics are not interested in getting Lillard back in the deal, Canzano says Blazers general manager Joe Cronin should take advantage.
“If someone is going to be stupid, let them be stupid,” Canzano added. “This doesn’t sound real to me. Like I actually think Boston is going to ‘trade’ their coach, meaning, fire their coach (Joe Mazzulla), and maybe not blow up the roster. The problem isn’t the roster.”
With the NBA Draft on June 22 and the Trail Blazers having some assets highlighted by the third pick, rumor season has only just begun.
Listen to the segment including Canzano’s comments and Simmons’ trade proposal at the 1:38:30 mark of the podcast below. Catch John Canzano give you the Bald Faced Truth afternoons 3-6 p.m. exclusively in Portland on 750 The Game.