The Portland Trail Blazers remain adamant about building around franchise superstar Damian Lillard despite finishing with a 33-49 record last season.

The Blazers netted the 3rd overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft, but it is looking likely they will trade that pick to get immediate help for Lillard. With that, Portland will also likely look to free agency to sign more quality pieces to build a contending roster around arguably the greatest player in franchise history.

The consensus around the league is that Portland should free Lillard and trade him to another team with legitimate title chances. But if the parties that be — including Lillard himself — insist on keeping the partnership going, let's be considerate and look into how they can leverage the pieces they currently have and go about upgrading the roster around him.

The Blazers currently project to have $121.6 million in committed salary next season, including their two first round picks (No. 3 and No. 23) and team options on Trendon Watford, Jabari Walker and Kevin Knox, according to ESPN's Bobby Marks. That number puts them roughly $40 million below the luxury tax, but doesn't account for cap holds of notable free agents like Jerami Grant, Matisse Thybulle and Cam Reddish—all of whom Portland could retain considering they were acquired within the past year.

If the Blazers ultimately go a different direction and those guys walk, though, it will be interesting to see if they can get other quality free agents to consider signing in the Rose City. But with such a small margin for error in a league that's getting more competitive, the Blazers can't afford to blow their money on a free agent that will not pan out.

With that said, here are two free agents Portland must avoid in NBA free agency.

2. Kelly Oubre Jr.

Kelly Oubre Jr. is also set to become a free agent after spending the last two seasons with the Charlotte Hornets. By all accounts, Oubre had a solid two-year run with Charlotte. He had his best year production-wise last season, averaging 20.3 points per game in 48 appearances.

His shooting, athleticism and defensive tenacity are exactly what the Blazers need. However, the Blazers shouldn't let the glamour of his career season last year blind them into thinking Oubre is the answer to their problems.

Sure, he gives them more youth and defense and is a solid option as a scorer. But the production that he had last year did not lead to winning basketball. For the most part, Oubre still hasn't proven to be a key piece in a winning situation. And with everything Portland needs to level up in the West, he just isn't worth the gamble at this point.

1. Miles Bridges

Miles Bridges hasn't played an NBA game since April 10th, 2022. He won't play the next 10 games he is eligible to play in, either, because of his suspension. The league suspended Bridges for 30 games (20 of which has already been considered served) as a result of a domestic violence incident involving the mother of his children.

Before the incident, Bridges had established himself as a rising star in the NBA. He averaged 20.2 points per game while shooting 49.1 percent from the field during the 2021-22 season. The lefty had earned a massive payday during the summer of 2022, but the incident, which occurred just weeks before free agency, left him on the market without any team interested.

A year has gone by, and teams may now be willing to bring in Bridges despite his history. With his current situation, he might not command a lofty price tag — which is just exactly what the Blazers need. Portland is still short of wing depth. With his talent, Bridges would certainly be an intriguing option for them at small forward.

Nonetheless, the Blazers should do all they can to stay away from Bridges. He carries a dicey situation with him. He just won't be worth the drama and hassle. Having that PR headache to begin the season is not going to bode well for a team that already has a lot to deal with.