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Will the Portland Trail Blazers keep or trade the No. 3 pick in the NBA Draft?

The Trail Blazers likely have to choose between keeping Damian Lillard or keeping their draft pick.

PORTLAND, Ore. — This may be the offseason in which the Portland Trail Blazers finally part with franchise icon Damian Lillard, but Tuesday night’s NBA Draft lottery created fresh options for the team should it instead try to add star talent next to their franchise point guard.

In a Wednesday episode of the Locked On Blazers podcast, host Mike Richman broke down Portland’s options should they decide to keep the pick or trade it.

“(Lillard is) the most powerful voice in the organization, pretty clearly,” Richman said. “There is no world in which they make a selection at three and Damian Lillard is on the roster. If they make a selection at three, the era is over.”

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Those are the stakes, but that doesn’t mean it’s a sure thing which direction the Blazers go. Lillard is 32, and Portland already has several intriguing young players including Anfernee Simons and Shaedon Sharpe that the team could be built around post-Lillard. 

Still, Lillard made All-NBA this season and is clearly capable of competing at a high level even in his early 30s. Trading the pick could land a co-star that vaults Portland back into championship contention, even if all the noise around the team’s decision limits the Blazers’ overall leverage.

“The trade, which would be an overpay, is a trade to keep Damian Lillard,” Richman explained.

Should Portland choose to keep the No. 3 pick, they would be in line to likely select whichever of Alabama wing Brandon Miller or G League Ignite guard Scoot Henderson is available, adding to the core of Sharpe and Simons. 

“There is more of a perception with folks outside of the Blazers organization who work in the league that Dame is gettable. More gettable than ever,” Richman said on the podcast. “And that the Blazers’ draft lottery position … didn’t hurt (his availability).”

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