5 Most Likely Landing Spots for Damian Lillard in a Trade
Inked under contract in Portland through 2025, a blockbuster trade represents Damian Lillard’s only form of escape.
Given this organization’s state of transition – a franchise that recently relieved Terry Stotts of his duties after nine seasons – perhaps a trade could be on the table that suffices all parties involved.
Regarded as one of the premium talents in all of basketball, it won’t be easy to move a player who’s due more than $176 million over the next four years. However, it appears that Dame and the Trail Blazers may have reached a breaking point.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some potential trade destinations for the superstar PG.
Los Angeles Lakers
- Current Odds to Land Lillard: +200
The leader in the clubhouse (outside of Portland), the Purple and Gold are likely to make a strong push to land Lillard this summer. In fact, per the odds for where Damian Lillard will play next season at BetUS, the Lakers are three times more likely to acquire Lillard than any other suitor.
The absence of a legitimate point guard was on full in a first-round loss to the Suns, but let’s be clear before any Lakers fans start dreaming of a Lebron-AD-Dame triumvirate.
The Trail Blazers aren’t desperate enough to trade Lillard to LA unless Anthony Davis is part of the compensation. The Lakers roster has nothing outside of Davis that’s going to entice Neil Olshey (Portland GM), nor do they have enough other pieces to make the money work.
The moral? Los Angeles could very well snatch Lillard in a trade, but it will have to come at the expense of waving goodbye to Anthony Davis.
New York Knicks
- Current Odds to Land Lillard: +600
The Knicks are next in line in terms of Damian Lillard’s next team odds. New York showed a lot of promise under the guidance of Tom Thibodeau and possess some assets that could intrigue the Blazers front office (Julius Randle, R.J. Barrett, Obi Toppin).
According to Stephen A. Smith, the Knicks are squarely in the conversation of possible landing spots for Lillard thanks to some additional maneuverability.
New York is unlikely to want to part ways with Randle coming off a breakout season but building a package around Barrett and Toppin is a realistic place to start.
With Portland likely headed for a rebuild, shipping Lillard to the Big Apple isn’t all that far-fetched.
Los Angeles Clippers
- Current Odds to Land Lillard: +1000
It’s naturally assumed that if Damian wants out, it’s to go to a viable contender that plays in a bigger market. Enter the Los Angeles Clippers, who like the Lakers, desperately need to upgrade the point guard position.
that’s just not sufficient.
If I were Lawrence Frank and/or had the ear of Steve Ballmer, I’d be convictive about my thoughts of swapping Paul George for Lillard.
Of course, the Clips would have to toss in another piece or some picks to capture Portland’s attention, but at least the money matches up.
- Current Odds to Land Lillard: +650
Miami was in the middle of the pack in three-pointers made and ranked 19th in three-point %. It would make sense for Pat Riley to pursue the guy who just broke the record for the most three-pointers in an NBA playoff game.
The Heat fit the bill of a bigger market/contender, and Miami has a bunch of money coming off the books when the free agency period gets underway. As far as what/who the Heat could send to Portland in exchange for Lillard, Tyler Herro would be the starting point.
That would help replenish the Blazers backcourt while acquiring Duncan Robinson would curb the loss of Damian’s three-point propensity.
No first-round picks in 2021 or 2023 throw a wrinkle into a potential package, but Miami’s first-round selection in 2022 could also be thrown onto the table.
- Current Odds to Land Lillard: +1500
Brad Stevens’ first order of business as Boston’s new president of basketball operations – other than leading the hire of the Celtics next head coach – is to unscramble this roster and turn into a legit contender.
The C’s inexcusably finished 36-36 before quickly getting dispatched by the Nets in round one. Boston has too many mouths to feed in the backcourt and could do themselves a favor by turning “2 into 1.” An idea?
Basically, tear it all down and start building around Jayson Tatum and Damian Lillard. That will give the basketball community in Beantown something genuine to get excited about.
Predicting Where Damian Lillard Plays Next Season
Stephen A. Smith hinted that six or seven teams could wind up targeting Damian Lillard this summer. I tossed out five organizations; two others on the outside looking are the Bucks (+650) and the Bulls (+1000).
Portland leads the way in the current Damian Lillard betting sweepstakes (+125), but I am wondering how realistic it is that Dame is willing to stay pat.
Lillard loves the city of Portland, but he was clearly distraught after being ousted by Denver in the first round.
Lillard proceeded to post cryptic messages on his social media platforms alluding to wanting a change of scenery.
Adding it all up, I am pegging the Miami Heat to be Damian Lillard’s next team.
Lillard wants to be in a major city – it doesn’t get much bigger or better than South Beach. Miami is just a season removed from appearing in the NBA Finals and has two legitimate stars to help lure Damian in.
Telling Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson to pack their bags might not sound ideal for Erik Spoelstra, but it’s all about perspective.
If it means leaning on the trio of Lillard, Jimmy Butler, and Bam Adebayo come playoff time, Coach Spo’ will be singing the tune of “Tyler and Duncan who?”