It’s officially Damian Lillard Trade Season, which means the rumors surrounding the possibility of the Portland Trail Blazers dealing away their franchise centerpiece are heating up.
This year’s Lillard Groundhog Day appears to be more legitimate than others, however, as Dame himself has given the Blazers what he says is not an ultimatum but sure sounds like one.
The significant question here may not be should Lillard stay or should he go – it might be whether or not Portland has enough assets to make a move that would convince him to stay.
If he in fact does let general manager Joe Cronin know he’d like to leave for greener pastures and a better chance at winning an NBA championship, there are reportedly a handful of franchises – at least – getting in line to appease the six-time All-NBA point guard.
NBA executives listed five teams as potential landing spots in a Damian Lillard trade
Sean Deveney of Heavy.com spoke with a number of anonymous NBA executives about the possibility of Dame leaving Portland. While those front-office advisers said it would ultimately be Lillard’s decision, there are no shortage of rumors as to which teams would gladly do whatever it takes to bring the 32-year-old aboard.
The first team listed by Deveney is the New York Knicks, who an Eastern Conference executive called “the most interesting place” for Dame.
The Brooklyn Nets, Miami Heat, Los Angeles Clippers and, interestingly, the Golden State Warriors were the other organizations listed as fits for Lillard.
The Nets received a haul of young wings in exchange for Kevin Durant but are lacking a scoring point guard, which Dame certainly is. The Heat have been known to shake things up, moving from one superstar to the next when they see fit. Maybe Lillard is next in line.
The Clippers are seemingly always in the mix for another superstar, but it’s hard to imagine LA trading either Paul George or Kawhi Leonard and Portland making a deal that involves neither.
From a complete fan perspective, removing the price it might cost for them to acquire him, it would be fascinating to see the Warriors play a two-guard lineup with Stephen Curry and Dame.
And these are only the early days of what’s expected to be a franchise-changing summer in Portland.