Rising Stars: Portland Trail Blazers’ Intriguing Interest in Deandre Ayton, OG Anunoby, and John Collins

The Portland Trail Blazers’ Path to Rebuilding: Potential Teammates for Damian Lillard

The Portland Trail Blazers’ 2022 NBA playoffs dreams were shattered when their front office made some questionable decisions prior to the trade deadline. Now, they embark on a mission to rebuild their team around their superstar, Damian Lillard. Despite missing 53 games due to core stomach surgery, Lillard remains the anchor for the Trail Blazers, who finished 13th in the Western Conference this season with a 27-55 record under first-year head coach Chauncey Billups.

The Need for Complimentary Players

In order to bolster their roster and create a strong supporting cast around Lillard, the Trail Blazers are eyeing potential teammates such as Deandre Ayton, John Collins, and OG Anunoby. These players have drawn significant attention in recent days, igniting speculation and discussions among fans and experts in Portland.

Deandre Ayton: Potential Frontcourt Upgrade

OG Anunoby defending Deandre Ayton

The Phoenix Suns’ Deandre Ayton, a powerful center, is on the top of Lillard’s wishlist. Ayton played a crucial role in the Suns’ dominant regular season, where they secured the #1 seed in the Western Conference playoffs with a remarkable 64-18 record. However, they were upset by Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks in the conference semifinals, leading to Ayton being benched during a Game 7 blowout.

With rumors swirling around Ayton’s potential departure from Phoenix, the Trail Blazers could consider acquiring him through a sign-and-trade deal with the Suns. Ayton’s impressive numbers from last season, averaging 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per game, solidify his status as a coveted player. The question remains whether the Trail Blazers are willing to meet his contract demands, potentially offering him a max contract to join their roster.

OG Anunoby: A Rising Star’s Uncertain Future

OG Anunoby in action

OG Anunoby, a small forward from the Toronto Raptors, has also captured Damian Lillard’s attention. Known for his versatile skills, Anunoby has been a fan favorite among NBA enthusiasts. However, the emergence of Scottie Barnes, who won the 2022 NBA Rookie of the Year, led to Anunoby’s diminished role in the Raptors’ rotation.

Despite rumors suggesting Anunoby’s unhappiness with his current situation, the Raptors have denied any potential trade talks involving him and the Trail Blazers. Anunoby still has three years remaining on his four-year, $72 million contract extension. A sign-and-trade scenario involving Anunoby and Deandre Ayton has been mentioned, with the Raptors acquiring the coveted center they need and Anunoby battling for playing time amongst fellow small forwards Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson.

John Collins: Seeking a New Role

John Collins on court

John Collins from the Atlanta Hawks has expressed dissatisfaction with his role within the team, particularly amidst the rise of Trae Young. Collins has made sacrifices for the team’s success in the past, but he has felt underutilized in the offense. His scoring average has declined over the last two seasons, despite posting a career-best 21.6 points per game in the 2019-20 season.

Collins requested a trade, yet the Hawks struggled to find a suitable trade partner due to their high demands. Plantar fasciitis and a knuckle injury further complicated Collins’ season, limiting his playing time and affecting his performance. The possibility of a trade with the Utah Jazz involving Rudy Gobert has been discussed, but the Trail Blazers have also shown interest in Collins.

Committing to a five-year, $125 million deal with the Hawks last year, Collins faces an uncertain future, and a potential trade could be on the horizon.


The Portland Trail Blazers are determined to rebuild their team around Damian Lillard after a disappointing 2022 NBA season. With Lillard’s desire to unite with talented players like Deandre Ayton, OG Anunoby, or John Collins, the Trail Blazers’ front office will face critical decisions in the upcoming offseason.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Will the Trail Blazers be able to retain Damian Lillard despite the rebuild?

As of now, Damian Lillard remains committed to the Trail Blazers despite the team’s need for a rebuild. However, the franchise’s ability to put together a competitive roster in the near future will play a vital role in determining Lillard’s long-term future in Portland.

2. What other areas do the Trail Blazers need to address in their rebuilding process?

In addition to finding complementary players for Damian Lillard, the Trail Blazers should focus on improving their defensive capabilities, strengthening their bench depth, and developing a more cohesive team chemistry. Addressing these areas would significantly enhance their chances of success in the highly competitive Western Conference.

3. Are there any trade rumors involving other players on the Trail Blazers’ roster?

While the focus has primarily been on potential additions to the Trail Blazers’ roster, there have been occasional trade rumors involving other players on the team. However, it remains to be seen whether the Trail Blazers will actively pursue trades involving the likes of CJ McCollum or other key players.

4. How long will the Trail Blazers’ rebuilding process take?

The timeline for the Trail Blazers’ rebuilding process is uncertain and largely dependent on the front office’s ability to make efficient decisions in acquiring talent and building a cohesive roster around Damian Lillard. Rebuilding is a complex process that can take several seasons to yield significant results.

5. Will the Trail Blazers have a new head coach next season?

As of now, there hasn’t been any indication of an immediate coaching change for the Trail Blazers. Head coach Chauncey Billups recently completed his first season with the team and is expected to continue leading the rebuilding efforts in the upcoming season.

Picture of Doug I. Jones

Doug I. Jones

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