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#pounditWednesday, June 29, 2022

Trail Blazers targeting former lottery pick as potential addition?

Chauncey Billups at the podium

Feb 15, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Former player Chauncey Billups speaks during a ceremony honoring former Minnesota Timberwolves head coach Flip Saunders prior to a game against Los Angeles Lakers at Target Center. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Trail Blazers had a disastrous season this year as they finished 27-55, which was the sixth-worst mark in the league. They traded away C.J. McCollum, finally breaking up his pairing with Damian Lillard. Lillard only played in 29 games due to a season-ending abdominal surgery.

Portland wants to get back into contention and may have a plan for doing so this offseason.

SNY’s Ian Begley published a notes column on Friday and included a few nuggets about the Blazers. He said that during the season, Portland viewed Miles Bridges as a potential target.

Bridges was the No. 12 overall pick in 2018. He has spent all four seasons with Charlotte and exploded to average 20.2 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game this season — all career-high marks.

Bridges will be a restricted free agent this offseason. Charlotte will extend him a qualifying offer for $7.9 million and then have the option to match any contract he receives from another team.

While Portland may be in the bidding for Bridges, that doesn’t mean they would actually get him. The Hornets seem committed to signing Bridges longterm.

“Miles is a restricted free agent, which means that we can match any deal that anybody else brings to us,” Hornets GM Mitch Kupchak has told the Charlotte Observer. “Our intention is to keep Miles long term. Yes, he’s a big part of our future.”

The Hornets went 43-39 this season. After posting their first winning season since 2016, going backwards in their team building is probably the last thing they want to do.

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