Damian Lillard is possibly the most sought after player in the NBA right now after the Portland Trail Blazers disappointed the All-Star yet again in the postseason. Fans and analysts alike believe Lillard is wasting his talents and his prime with the Blazers. LA Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Miami Heat, and New York Knicks seem like a good fit for him and the teams are actively trying to trade for Dame.
While Nikola Jokic was named the 2020-21 NBA MVP, Damian Lillard finished 5th in the race. Lillard definitely deserved a higher spot as he carried the Blazers when CJ McCollum was sidelined with a fractured foot. He kept Portland afloat and clinched #6 seed barely escaping the play-in tournament.
Damian Lillard has been loyal to the Portland Trail Blazers his entire career of 9 years in the NBA and committed to staying with the team for as long as he can play. This was, however, before back-to-back first-round exit from the playoffs. He seems to have changed his mind as suggested by his recent Instagram post which he captioned with Nipsey Hussle’s lyrics,
How long should I stay dedicated? How long til opportunity meets preparation
Damian Lillard signed a contract extension in the summer of 2019 for $176 million. He will become an unrestricted free agent in 2025 but he is certainly in a position to request a trade after the way the Blazers performed against the Nuggets this postseason. According to the Athletic’s Shams Charania, several big market teams are monitoring Damian Lillard’s future in Portlnad and are waiting for an opportunity to open trade talks with the organization.
Are the LA Lakers a possible destination for Damian Lillard?
LA Lakers traded their future for Anthony Davis back in 2019 and rightly so as they won the chip in 2020. However, this season ended terribly for the defending champions as they were defeated by the Phoenix Suns at home in 6 games. Although Anthony Davis’ injury was responsible for the early exit, the team as a whole was not ready to take on the #2 seed.
Sources: Several NBA teams — including the top markets — are intensely monitoring the future of Damian Lillard in Portland for an opening to make trade offers.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 5, 2021
The addition of Damian Lillard will take the offensive load off of AD’s hands and he can become a better two-way player as LeBron James is aging. The last two seasons stand testament to how unreliable Kyle Kuzma is and Dennis Schroader had a disappointing postseason as well. However, acquiring Damian Lillard will be difficult for the Lakers. He is the face of the franchise for Portland Trail Blazers and the latter will not let him go without another superstar or 3 solid role players.
Lakers will not trade Anthony Davis or LeBron James and they don’t have any good draft picks left either. They traded away their young talent in the AD trade to New Orleans Pelicans. As a result they don’t have any meaningful assets to give to Portland except Montrezl Harrell and Dennis Schroder. It may clear the cap space for them but Portland will not settle for these two in return for the face of their franchise.
What other options does Lillard and Blazers have?
Othe possible destinations for the All-star are Dallas Mavericks, New York Knicks, and Miami Heat. Out of the three the best possible place will be New York as they have cap space and good role players in Julius Randle and RJ Barrett.
They will complement him very well and he can lead the Knicks deep in the Playoffs as eastern conference is relatively less competitive. However, this may or may not ensure a ring to him because of the Brooklyn Big 3’s dominance in the east. Same goes for Miami Heat.
Dallas Mavericks on the other hand can definitely assure a ring to Damian Lillard. He may be overshadowed in Luka Doncic’s presence as the young player from Europe is already playing better than vets. He pushed the series against mightily LA Clippers to Game 7 but faced a situation similar to Damian Lillard as his teammates came up short. These two will dominate the NBA for a long time if they decide to team up. Dallas has some good assets that they can offer in return to Portland Trail Blazers.