The Blazers currently own the No. 7 overall pick, with the Pelicans selecting one spot behind them at No. 8.
“Both the Blazers, starring Damian Lillard, and Pelicans, fresh off a playoff appearance, have designs on competing for the postseason,” Fischer wrote. “And akin to the Kings, there’s a likelihood that both Portland’s and New Orleans’ front offices could move those selections for an established veteran or to trade down while adding another rotation piece along the way.”
Translation: The Pelicans are coming off a playoff appearance and want to build on it. Presumably, they will add a healthy Zion Williamson to Brandon Ingram and CJ McCollum next season. A veteran is likely to do them more good than the No. 8 pick.
And the Blazers and Kings just want to get to the playoffs. After eight straight years of reaching the postseason under Terry Stotts, injuries and the McCollum trade kept the Blazers from getting in under first-year coach Chauncey Billups.
Per Fischer, teams with multiple first-round picks could be trade candidates to move up in the draft.
“Oklahoma City, holding the Nos. 12 and 30 picks, Memphis, with picks Nos. 22 and 29, and San Antonio, owners of the ninth, 20th and 25th selections, have all been described as teams to monitor for trade-up scenarios,” he wrote.