Portland Trail Blazers superstar Damian Lillard has been the best player in the entire league since the restart. He was named as the bubble MVP, as he led the Blazers to a furious run during the seeding games that resulted in a postseason berth for the team. Today, however, we’re going to look at some potential Damian Lillard trade scenarios.
However, despite Lillard’s superhuman effort, it appears that Portland is still missing that final piece to the puzzle. CJ McCollum has been great as Lillard’s backcourt partner for the longest time, but in today’s NBA, it seems that you need — at the very least — two bona fide superstars in your team in order for it to be a legitimate threat to the title.
This being the case, it seems that the next step for the Blazers would be to trade for a superstar to play alongside Lillard. As a matter of fact, it would not be surprising if their front office pulls the trigger on a blockbuster deal to make this happen in the offseason.
Let’s turn the table a bit here today. We completely understand that Lillard is a lifer (one of the last few remaining in the league), and that he is likely going to spend the rest of his career in Portland. For argument’s sake, however, let’s just assume that Lillard suddenly has a change of heart and opts to chase that ring with another team.
What would a Blazers trade for Damian Lillard look like? Below we have three potential deals that would not only be beneficial for Portland, but more importantly, would put Lillard in a position to immediately contend for a much-deserved championship.
New Orleans Pelicans
Pelicans trade: Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball
Parting ways with first-time All-Star forward Brandon Ingram will be a tough pill to swallow for the New Orleans Pelicans, but with the prize being Damian Lillard, they should be more than willing to pull the trigger on this potential blockbuster deal.
Ingram probably won’t be enough for Portland, so the Pelicans might also need to throw in Lonzo Ball in the deal. All things considered, that would be a great haul for the Blazers, and with both guys just 22 years of age, Portland could build around this pair for their future.
In New Orleans Lillard will join a core of Jrue Holiday and Zion Williamson. The new backcourt pairing of Lillard and Holiday is already a great tandem in itself, but once you throw in Zion in the mix, you have yourself a dark horse for the title. Williamson has been great for the Pelicans in the limited run he has had during his rookie campaign, and assuming that he comes in to the new season a hundred percent healthy, then this new-look New Orleans side should strike fear in the hearts of their opponents.
Sixers trade: Ben Simmons
The Philadelphia 76ers ended their 2019-20 campaign in one of the worst ways possible. Not only did they lose their superstar point guard Ben Simmons to injury right before the postseason started, but they also got swept in the first round by the Boston Celtics.
This resulted in the sacking of long-time head coach Brett Brown, and despite the fact that the front office is claiming that they have no intention of trading their two superstars in Simmons and Joel Embiid, there’s just this lingering feeling that this might not be completely true.
A straight-up swap for Simmons and Lillard could be beneficial for both parties. Portland get their new cornerstone stud in Simmons, and he could pick up right where Lillard left off in terms of hunting for that title. The Australian is just 24, and will be the face of the franchise for years to come.
As for the Sixers, adding Lillard propels them as a heavy favorite in a wide-open Eastern Conference. Pairing arguably the best big man in the game today in Embiid (on his good days) with a proven, top-tier point guard in Lillard certainly sounds like a recipe for success.
Damian Lillard to the Golden State Warriors
Warriors trade: 2020 second overall pick, Andrew Wiggins
This might sound crazy, but the Golden State Warriors actually have enough assets to bring in another star to their team next season. For Lillard, joining the Dubs bandwagon would give him the best shot at winning a championship. The Warriors are expected to challenge for the title next year anyway, but with Lillard on board, they will surely emerge as the heavy favorites.
For Portland, there is no better way to start a rebuilding process than with a young and very talented prospect. This could come in the form of projected second overall pick James Wiseman, who has the makings of a future cornerstone big man. If ever, the Blazers will need to resolve their log jam at the five with Jusuf Nurkic and Hassan Whiteside still in the picture, but their going to undergo a full rebuild anyway, so it’s going to be a free-for-all.
In Wiggins the Blazers get a young-enough stud that still has a ton of basketball ahead of him. He will be playing with a point to prove, and Portland might just be where he finally lives up to all the expectations.