Grade the trade: Milwaukee Bucks land lockdown defender in mock deal with Portland

Portland Trail Blazers v Milwaukee Bucks
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Grade the trade for Matisse Thybulle: Portland’s POV

Considering they’re a rebuilding team, Portland acquires two additional draft picks to add to their rebuilding efforts if this trade happens, which is a reasonable return for a player of Thybulle's caliber. They also shed Thybulle's contract, which could be helpful if they want to pursue other moves or avoid the luxury tax as they continue to build around Scoot Henderson.

Since the Blazers could not be farther from win-now mode at the moment, Connaughton and Payne are players who could fit well in Portland's rebuild or be flipped for more assets, even with all of their on-court shortcomings as of late. They’re both playoff-experienced veterans who can still definitely add depth to a team with title aspirations. And who knows? Perhaps a change of scenery might be exactly what they need to get back to their level of play from years past.

The initial fit is actually intriguing the more this writer thinks about it. At 29, Payne brings experience and could mentor younger guards like Anfernee Simons. He's a solid passer and ball-handler, averaging 2.3 assists per game this season, and his playmaking could generate easier opportunities for Henderson, whose offensive development has left much to be desired thus far this season.

Connaughton, on the other hand, can play multiple positions and guard different assignments. Despite his shooting woes this season, he's still a proven career 37.4 percent 3-point shooter who can and has knocked down big shots in big moments, adding valuable spacing while bringing positive energy and effort on both ends of the court.

On the other hand, Thybulle is a valuable defensive asset and could still develop into a more well-rounded player. Connaughton and Payne are decent role players, but their impact on the Blazers' future is unclear. This is just to say that they could conceivably still get better returns on Matisse, even if it remains to be seen what kind of market is out there for a player like him.