Top Trade Candidates For Damian Lillard
June 28, 2021 8:00 pm EDT
There’s recent reports that Damian Lillard isn’t happy with the Portland Trail Blazers and he could eventually demand a trade. Lillard is frustrated the Trail Blazers haven’t been able to build a legit contender and the controversial hiring of Chauncey Billups hasn’t helped matters. Every team in the NBA will be monitoring this situation closely and many will put a trade package together in hopes of landing the star point guard.
Here are the five teams that have the best chance of trading for Lillard.
Oklahoma City Thunder – As I mentioned in my Ben Simmons article, the Thunder should be considered threats for any disgruntled player. The thunder have 36 total draft picks over the next seven years and half of those picks are in the first round. No team in the league can come close to that sort of draft capital and it would certainly be attractive to the Trail Blazers if they decide to take the rebuilding route. Pairing Lillard with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander makes the Thunder threatening and speeds up their timeline. You can’t overlook OKC in a possible Lillard trade.
Golden State Warriors – I also mentioned in that Simmons article that the Warriors don’t have time to sit on draft picks or young players. Steph Curry is in win now mode, especially with Klay Thompson returning. The Warriors have draft picks they could send to Portland, along with young players such as James Wiseman, Damion Lee, Jordan Poole and Eric Paschall. Such a move puts the Warriors right back in the title picture, and it could also peak Lillard’s interest, as San Francisco is right across the street from his hometown of Oakland. If the Trail Blazers want to do right by Lillard, this is a move that would not burn a bridge.
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Philadelphia 76ers – Speaking of the 76ers, they have to be on the list, as this feels like a perfect pairing. Lillard isn’t happy and Philly potentially wants to move on from Simmons. Just swap point guards and call it a day. The 76ers also have attractive young players in Matisse Thybulle, Tyrese Maxey and Shake Milton if they need to sweeten the pot. We also know Daryl Morey is no stranger to swinging for the fences. Pairing Lillard with Joel Embiid would make the 76ers a legit title contender overnight.
New York Knicks – It’s been a while since the Knicks have had a legit star and their recent playoff appearance should have them eager to upgrade the roster. The Knicks have draft assets to give away, and a treasure chest of young players in RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, Frank Ntilikina, Mitchell Robinson and Kevin Knox II is appealing. It feels like this is the move the Knicks have been waiting for all this time. This would also be worthwhile to the Trail Blazers, as a trade to New York gets Lillard out of the Western Conference.
New Orleans Pelicans – The Pelicans have to do whatever it takes to make Zion Williamson happy before it’s too late. Last years disappointing season and the coaching changes isn’t off to a great start. With that said, the Pelicans have draft picks and young players in Josh Hart, Jaxson Hayes, Kira Lewis and Lonzo Ball to part with. Ball would be a nice point guard replacement if Portland has to trade Lillard. There’s also rumblings that Brandon Ingram could want out of New Orleans, and he’d be a nice headline to a potential package. Lillard would certainly put a smile on Williamson’s face and make him feel better about his current situation.