Could the Portland Trail Blazers be forced into pulling off a Damian Lillard trade this coming summer? Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports seems to think that the all-time great shooter is getting impatient in the Pacific Northwest.
For good reason. Despite his otherworldly play, the Blazers have failed in building a contending team around the future Hall of Famer. At 30-years-old, it might be time for the sharpshooting guard to force his way out of the Pacific Northwest.
If so, pretty much the entire NBA would come calling for a six-time All-Star who is averaging 27.5 points and 6.9 assists since the start of the 2016-17 season. Below, we look at five ideal offseason Damian Lillard trade scenarios.
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Damian Lillard trade to the New York Knicks
- Knicks get: Damian Lillard
- Blazers get: R.J. Barrett, Obi Toppin, Mitchell Robinson, two future first-round picks
We already know that the Knicks will be going big-game hunting during the summer after opting against pulling off a blockbuster deal ahead of the NBA trade deadline. For good reason. The upstart team is slated to have roughly $60 million to spend during free agency. With some other moves, that could be enough to bring in two maximum contract players to pair up with NBA MVP candidate Julius Randle.
Finishing up shop on what has been a surprising season thus far, New York could opt to pull off the blockbuster to end all blockbusters. That would include giving up its past two lottery picks in Barrett and Toppin to entice Portland. From there, the Knicks give up the farm in the form of two future first-round selections. This type of move would still enable president Leon Rose and Co. to add another max contract player to team up with Lillard and Randle moving forward.
Damian Lillard trade to the Boston Celtics
- Celtics get: Damian Lillard, Robert Covington, Jusuf Nurkic
- Blazers get: Jaylen Brown, Kemba Walker, Robert Williams, first-round pick
Celtics general manager Danny Ainge continues to push back against giving up real assets for another star player. Not wanting to move off Jayson Tatum for either Anthony Davis or Kawhi Leonard makes sense in hindsight. With that said, Ainge’s inactivity has these Celtics on the brink of irrelevance back east. A premature departure from the NBA Playoffs could force him to change up midstream.
The idea would be to team Damian Lillard up with Tatum to form an elite pairing. In turn, Portland nabs a potential franchise cornerstone in Jaylen Brown, a stopgap point guard option with Kemba Walker and a still-young big in Robert Williams. It also picks up a valuable first-round pick while moving off the contracts of Covington and Nurkic.
Damian Lillard trade to the Denver Nuggets
- Nuggets get: Damian Lillard
- Blazers get: Michael Porter Jr., Aaron Gordon, Monte Morris, Will Barton, first-round pick
Considering that the Nuggets were unwilling to part ways with Porter Jr. in a trade for James Harden earlier this season, it stands to reason that the young forward will be in Mile High City for some time. That’s until we realize just how dynamic of a big three Lillard, Jamal Murray and NBA MVP favorite Nikola Jokic would be. In reality, this would likely be the best team in the Western Conference.
As for what the Blazers get in this hypothetical Damian Lillard trade, Porter Jr. is seen as a potential franchise cornerstone. The 22-year-old forward is averaging 23.8 points and 7.8 rebounds on 56% shooting from the field since the start of April. He’s going to be an All-Star performer and could act as a great running partner with C.J. McCollum. Fellow forward Aaron Gordon is someone the Blazers have been targeting for some time now. Meanwhile, Portland adds a capable scorer in Will Barton and a future first-round pick to the mix.
Damian Lillard trade to the Golden State Warriors
- Warriors get: Damian Lillard
- Blazers get: Andrew Wiggins, James Wiseman, Jordan Poole, two 2021 first-round picks, future first-round pick
Lillard is unlike other stars of this era in that he doesn’t want to join a super team. We have to give him credit for that. But the idea of returning to his Northern California roots might be seen as appealing to a dude who grew up a Warriors fan and attended many games in Oakland. For the Warriors, it’s not a secret that they are going to go big-game hunting this coming offseason and have the assets to pull off a blockbuster trade of this ilk. Adding Lillard to the mix with Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson would form one of the better trios in the NBA.
In this hypothetical Damian Lillard trade scenario, the Blazers add a vastly improve three-and-D wing in Andrew Wiggins and 2020 first-round pick James Wiseman. But neither is really the centerpiece. Rather that comes in the form of the the Minnesota Timberwolves’ future first-round pick. It’s top-three protected in 2021 and unprotected in 2022. Right now, it’s more than likely to be in the Warriors’ hands in 2021 — making it one of the top non-player trade assets in the NBA. Add in two more first-round picks and sharpshooting young guard Jordan Poole, and this could be enough to get it done.
Damian Lillard trade to the Philadelphia 76ers
- 76ers get: Damian Lillard, Robert Covington
- Blazers get: Ben Simmons, Tyrese Maxey, George Hill, two future first-round picks
Philadelphia offered up Simmons in its pitch to the Houston Rockets for James Harden before the former NBA MVP was moved to the Brooklyn Nets. There’s absolutely no reason to believe that the 76ers wouldn’t do the same thing if Lillard were to become available. The idea of teaming Lillard up with Joel Embiid could make this title contender an absolute monster moving forward back east.
Portland would then team Simmons up with C.J. McCollum to form a solid duo. The addition of talented young rookie first-round pick Tyrese Maxey would also give the 76ers another young building block. Perhaps, Portland could even flip Maxey and one of the first-round picks acquired in this hypothetical trade for a third star. It would give the organization a ton of options.