11 July, 2023
Should the Celtics make one last attempt at Damian Lillard or should they wait for another superstar?
NBA stories this summer will be dominated by Damian Lillard’s potential joining of the Portland Trail Blazers.
More than a week ago, the elite point guard made a trade request, but nothing has happened as of yet. His desired destination is apparently the Miami Heat, although they don’t have as many desirable trade assets as many other teams.
What specifically are the Blazers seeking in exchange for Lillard? As you can expect, quite a bit.
Last Friday, The Oregonian’s Aaron Fentress claimed that the Blazers were looking for “around four first-round picks and two quality players.” But doing that might involve including a third team in the mix.
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If Lillard is exclusively interested in playing for Miami, the Heat really have no reason to provide this kind of package. Why make a counterbid? Therefore, the Blazers will either have to accept a lower offer to send Lillard to the Heat or find another team that is interested in him and is convinced he will be comfortable there.
Since Lillard will turn 33 on July 15th, he is not exactly a young player. He is still one of the league’s top scorers, though, and should stay there for a few more years. Lillard had a league-leading 32.2 point average across 58 games last year, which was a career high. In his career, he has scored 25.2 points a game on average while shooting 37.2 percent from outside the arc. His deal has two more years and about $93 million left.
Which other teams, besides the Heat, might be interested in Lillard?
It has been suggested that Lillard might join the Philadelphia 76ers or the Boston Celtics. Tyrese Maxey is apparently not wanted by the Sixers in any deal, and it seems unlikely that the C’s would offer All-NBA wing Jaylen Brown as a trade chip. However, Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated said last week on the “Toucher & Rich” program on 98.5 The Sports Hub that there might be a way for the Celtics to acquire Lillard without having to give up Brown.
Mannix remarked, “I think you can get Lillard without Jaylen Brown.” According to one version of the tale, Lillard might end up in Boston without the Celtics having to part ways with Jaylen Brown. They would have to practically give up everything else, including their remaining draft picks for the following six years as well as Robert Williams and Derrick White.
For the Blazers, the summer will be exciting. If a trade can be arranged with Lillard’s chosen team (the Heat), that would be a good way to honor him for his services to Portland. Lillard has been a fantastic face of the organization. The Blazers, though, cannot afford to accept a terrible offer. If one team offers significantly more than the Heat, Portland should seriously consider accepting the move, even if it means upsetting Lillard. This trade may make or break the Blazers’ rebirth.