NBA Rumors: A surprising team could land Lillard if he demands a trade

Damian Lillard, the Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images)
Damian Lillard, the Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images) /

The Portland Trail Blazers appear to be holding onto superstar Damian Lillard for dear life after failing to make the playoffs for the second straight season. That moved them further away from his stated goal of competing for a championship. As a result, they will likely be active this summer, trying to build around him once again, but he will also turn 34, and his patience could soon run out.

According to Mike Scotto of Hoops Hype, the Brooklyn Nets could be a landing spot for Damian Lillard should he decide to leave Portland.

While Brooklyn may seem like a surprising choice, considering they were forced to trade their two All-Stars midseason, it makes sense on paper.

If Lillard asks out of Portland, it would presumably be to go to a big market. The Nets play in a big market, and unlike other big-market teams like the Lakers, Clippers, Warriors, and Celtics, they have far more financial flexibility.

 What could a Nets-Blazers deal for Lillard look like?

Despite his low trade value at the moment, Ben Simmons would probably have to be involved in a hypothetical trade with the Blazers since it would make it easier to match salaries with Lillard making $45 million next season. If the Blazers agree to deal Lillard, they will probably want to get rid of center Jusuf Nurkic and the remaining three years on his contract.

Brooklyn could accommodate as well as send back center Nic Claxton, who was a Defensive Player of the Year candidate. Claxton is barely 24 and will earn just $8.8 million next season, making him a valuable asset in addition to picks.

The Nets were previously light on draft picks after acquiring James Harden from Houston but now find themselves with five recently acquired first-round selections. This is a result of the Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant trades, which makes a deal with the Blazers easier to envision. The Nets could offer all five of those first-rounders, something that few teams can match, including none of the teams on a hypothetical list of landing spots for Lillard.

Should Brooklyn get a deal done for Lillard, they have Mikal Bridges to pair him with. Bridges has taken his game to the next level since being acquired from Phoenix and could be a selling point if Scotto’s and Isola’s intel is correct.

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All in all, Lillard has continued to deny wanting out of Portland, and the Blazers likely wouldn’t move him if he didn’t demand to be dealt. Things can obviously change, but a trade with Brooklyn doesn’t appear imminent at the moment.