- Rumors spread that Damian Lillard will be asking for a trade this offseason.
- Lillard is a Second Team All-NBA selection in 2021 and averaged 28.8 ppg in 2020-21
- Look for many teams to make a play for Lillard’s services
Early Friday, rumors spread via Twitter that Portland Trail Blazers’ star guard – Damian Lillard – will be requesting a trade in the near future.
Even though Lillard was quick to shoot down these claims, a new home for the Weber State product would make too much sense for all parties involved. First off, it is doubtful that Portland will go too much deeper in future NBA Playoffs with their current roster. Additionally, at 31-years old, Lillard needs to be on a team that has a chance to win-it-all over the next few years. In other words, Lillard’s best years are wasting away in Portland.
If Lillard is moved during the off-season, there will undoubtedly be a long list of suitors for the 6-time NBA All-Star. Online sportsbook BetOnline.ag posted odds on the most likely new home for Lillard:
New York Knicks (+150)
The Knickerbockers are a team that is finally trending up, having ended their eight-year playoff drought this past season. Additionally, no one can question the potential marketing dollar someone of Lillard’s stature can haul in playing in the Big Apple. Do the Knicks have enough assets to get a blockbuster trade like this done however?
Philadelphia 76ers (+225)
The 76ers will have some talent to throw at Portland in the name of three-time All-Star Ben Simmons. Simmons disappeared during Philly’s playoff loss to the Atlanta Hawks. Additionally, Sixers GM Daryl Morey tried to trade Simmons last off-season. Team Lillard up with Joel Embiid and Philadelphia would be the favorites coming out of the Eastern Conference next season. Simmons alone will not get the deal done however; Philly will most likely need to throw-in Matisse Thybulle and Tyrese Maxey, in addition to some draft picks.
Golden State Warriors (+600)
The Warriors have an interesting roster composed of proven veterans and young talent. Steph Curry and Draymond Green is a heck of a nucleus. However, Klay Thompson will be returning from yet another serious injury – a torn Achilles tendon. Golden State has some very tradeable assets including center – James Wiseman and future salary dump Andrew Wiggins.
Miami Heat (+650)
After making the NBA Finals a year ago, the Heat were swept by the Bucks in the first round of the NBA Playoffs this year. Miami has plenty of solid young perimeter players to offer Portland, but none of them are All-Star quality.
Los Angeles Clippers (+750)
The Clippers definitely need some extra firepower as Kawhi Leonard underwent surgery for a partially torn ACL this past week and it is anyone’s guess on how long the two time NBA Finals MVP will be sidelined. With an aging roster, the Clippers are definitely in “win now mode”; however, they are void of young talent to offer up for Lillard. The Blazers will want young studs and/or high draft picks – the Clippers have neither.
Los Angeles Lakers (+750)
Damian Lillard teamed up with LeBron James and Anthony Davis? Yup – ship the 2022 NBA Championship trophy to the Lakers. But just like their cross-town rivals, the Lakers do not have a lot of young talent, nor likely high draft picks to send Portland’s way.
Boston Celtics (+900)
Unlike the two LA teams, the Celtics actually have enough assets to make a decent offer; including Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart. Lillard and Jayson Tatum would make a heck of a one-two punch and would put Boston right back amongst the Eastern Conference elite.
Toronto Raptors (+1200)
Having missed the playoffs for the first time since the 2012-13 season, the Raptors will be in re-building mode. There is a good chance that 35-year old Kyle Lowry will have a new home next season. And even though the Raptors have some good young talent to put in the table, namely Pascal Siakam, it wouldn’t make sense for the Raptors to essentially be starting over with the 31-year old Lillard.
Despite Lillard’s claims of wanting the stay in Portland, expect the point guard to have a new home by the start of the 2021-22 NBA regular season. The price tag will be steep and the team that is ultimately the Blazers’ trade partner will need to offer a combination of young talent and high draft picks.