Grade the Trade: Hawks land Damian Lillard in bold trade pitch

Jan 30, 2023; Portland, Oregon, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray (5) fouls Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) during the second half at Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
Jan 30, 2023; Portland, Oregon, USA; Atlanta Hawks guard Dejounte Murray (5) fouls Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) during the second half at Moda Center. Mandatory Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports /
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Trae Young, Atlanta Hawks and Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers. Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images /

Laying out a Damian Lillard trade

On his recent podcast, ESPN’s Zach Lowe floated a wild trade idea: what if the Hawks called Portland and offered to trade Trae Young for Damian Lillard? It seems crazy to consider, but as you peel back the layers there is at least a case to be made.

Trae Young makes enough money to get the contracts close, so adding Saddiq Bey would make it viable and give the Blazers a young frontcourt player to help their rebuild. They can offer two first-round picks and a few swaps. Here’s how the general framework would look:

The Portland Trail Blazers could go into the season with Trae Young, bringing Scoot Henderson off the bench and doing a mix-and-match rotation with Shaedon Sharpe. More likely is that the Blazers move Young on to another team more in need of a point guard, be that the Toronto Raptors, the Utah Jazz or someone else.

Saddiq Bey joins a frontcourt that will be the focus of Portland’s rebuild, as most of their young talent is focused in the backcourt. Young may have some areas of friction, but he is valuable enough around the league to provide plenty of value if the Blazers do move him. This would be a solid return for Portland.

If the Blazers say yes, would the Hawks be willing to pull the trigger?