Trades are a tricky business. It’s often hit-or-miss, with no guarantee whatsoever as to whether or not they player a certain team is trading for will be able to live up to the expectations. As we all know, trades don’t always work out. Then again, there are those select few transactions that end up having a tremendous impact on the franchise moving forward. Today we’re going to look at the Blazers best trades in franchise history.
Below we have five of these jackpot trade deals in the history of the Portland Trail Blazers franchise .
5. Buck Williams (1989)
Traded from the New Jersey Nets for Sam Bowie and a first-round draft pick.
It took four years for the Blazers to finally pull the plug on the Sam Bowie experiment — the player that they infamously drafted second overall in 1984 ahead of the GOAT, Michael Jordan. The Blazers sent him to the New Jersey net in exchange for Buck Williams, a tested vet that turned out to be a pivotal piece in the success of the Blazers in the ’90’s.
Williams went on to help Portland to three consecutive Western Conference Finals appearances, including a couple of memorable Finals trips. The 6-foot-9 power forward spent seven seasons with the Blazers, producing career averages of 10.2 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 1.1 assists.
4. LaMarcus Aldridge (2006)
Traded from the Chicago Bulls with a future second-round pick for Viktor Khryapa and Tyrus Thomas.
Portland parted ways with Tyrus Thomas moments after drafting him fourth overall in the 2006 draft, which at that time, was a huge risk for them. The Blazers moved him to the Chicago Bulls, and what they got in return turned out to be one of the best power forwards in franchise history in LaMarcus Aldridge.
In nine seasons with the Blazers, Aldridge led the team to five playoff appearances. Unfortunately, all of them resulted in early, first-round exits, save for the 2016 postseason wherein they were eliminated in the second round.
A five-time All-Star during his time in Portland, Aldridge holds career averages of 19.4 points, 8.4 rebounds, 1.9 assists, and 1.0 blocks for the Blazers.
Sadly, Aldridge’s reputation in Portland was stained by his decision to walk away from the team in 2015 to sign with the San Antonio Spurs as a free agent. You can’t really blame the man, though, as he spent nearly a decade with the Blazers, leaving everything on the floor every single night.
3. Terry Porter (1982)
Traded from from the Dallas Mavericks (as a future first-round pick) with Wayne Cooper for Kelvin Ransey.
The Terry Porter acquisition was three years in the making. The Blazers sent Kelvin Ransey to the Dallas Mavericks in 1982 in exchange for a future first-round draft pick. It wasn’t until three years later that the Blazers were able to make use of this pick, selecting Terry Porter as the 24th pick in the 1985 draft. It was worth the wait.
Porter served as the Blazers’ starting point guard for arguably the most successful era in franchise history. He was a key piece playing alongside the great Clyde Drexler. This particular Portland team made two trips to the NBA Finals in three years (1990 and 1992).
As of writing, Porter is the Blazers’ all-time leader in assists with 5,319 career dimes.
2. Maurice Lucas (1976)
Traded from the Atlanta Hawks (as a draft pick in the ’76 draft dispersal) for Steve Hawes and Geoff Petrie.
The Blazers pulled off one of the best trades in franchise history when they traded for the rights to draft 6-foot-9 big man Maurice Lucas in the historic 1976 draft dispersal.
The role Lucas played in Portland’s one and only title in history (as of writing, at least) in 1977 cannot be understated. In just his first season with the Blazers, he helped the team to a memorable title, averaging 20.2 points, 11.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.1 steals per game.
Lucas was a tenacious enforcer, and aside from his production, this was one of the biggest assets he brought to the table. Despite playing just five seasons in Portland — including a return to the team in for the final season of his career — Lucas is still widely regarded as one of, if not the best Blazers power forwards of all time.
1. Damian Lillard (2012)
Traded from the New Jersey Nets (as a future first-round draft pick) with Mehmet Okur and Shawne Williams for Gerald Wallace.
What might not be common knowledge for most casual fans is that the Blazers actually acquired Damian Lillard via trade. They selected him sixth overall in the 2012 draft, but this was thanks to a trade deal with the New Jersey Nets a couple of months prior that allowed Portland to acquire that same pick.
The Blazers had to give up All-Star forward Gerald Wallace in the deal, but they obviously emerged as the big winner in this deal. Lillard is one of the best point guards of his generation, and can be considered as the greatest point guard in Blazers history. All in all, a pretty good trade deal, yes?