Rumor: The 5 teams most aggressively pursuing trade for Blazers star Damian Lillard
Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard shot down a report that he would be demanding a trade in the near future, but he didn’t exactly make a long-term commitment to the franchise. While it currently seems as if a trade won’t happen this offseason, Lillard has now sent multiple warning shots across the bow of the front office to improve the team. There has already been a coaching change, but Lillard clearly thinks roster changes are needed as well.
Rival teams are keeping an eye on this Lillard situation in case he does actually ask out. Some teams have been aggressive in inquiring about a trade given all this drama. Those teams include the Miami Heat, Sacramento Kings, New York Knicks, Houston Rockets, and Philadelphia 76ers, according to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor.
It’s no surprise to see teams like the Heat, Knicks and Sixers here. New York and Philly are viewed as the betting favorites to land Damian Lillard in a trade if the Blazers move him, with Miami not too far behind.
The Kings and Rockets are interesting. Sacramento has a young star at point guard in De’Aaron Fox, but the franchise is in the midst of a long playoff drought and could be looking to make a huge splash to upgrade the roster. Houston is rebuilding after the James Harden trade, but those assets from the Harden trade could be used to try for a Lillard trade.
In fact, O’Connor reports NBA executives believe a Damian Lillard trade will equal or surpass the return got in the Harden deal to the Brooklyn Nets. This would be something in the vicinity of several young players, three first-round picks and four first-round pick swaps.
Lillard has four years left on his contract, with a player option worth nearly $49 million in that final year. That long-term deal should only help bring a massive return.
Again, as of right now it looks like the Blazers will get at least one more chance to build a title contender around Damian Lillard. But with all this trade talk out there, it wouldn’t be a surprise if he’s out of there within the next few years.