Damian Lillard should have a big trade market if the Portland Trail Blazers put him on the block.
Lillard has been all-league on six occasions, as well as a six-time Western Conference All-Star. Though the Trail Blazers have been in the NBA Playoffs regularly, Portland has far too often exited in the first-round for a team built around a player of his caliber. Lillard just turned 31-years-old and could be looking to play the second half of his career elsewhere if he does request a trade.
Here are the five most likely teams to trade for Lillard this offseason. What teams make sense?
Damian Lillard: 5 most likely trade destinations for him, ranked
Toronto Raptors have the trade assets, but will he want to play in Canada?
The Toronto Raptors are only two years removed from winning an NBA championship. They have all the organizational stability a star would want to work with. Toronto has several intriguing trade assets, including wing Pascal Siakam and the No. 4 overall pick in 2021. They could also send Kyle Lowry to the Trail Blazers in a sign-and-trade. However, Lillard would need to move to Canada.
The Miami Heat have a fantastic culture, but their assets are not the best
A new Miami Heat big three of Lillard, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo could be enough to contend in the Eastern Conference, or in the Southeast Division at least. Miami has a fantastic culture that Lillard could buy into. Erik Spoelstra is a great coach and Pat Riley can build a winner. However, a deal involving Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson and a bunch of picks does not really move the needle.
Golden State Warriors
Going home to the Golden State Warriors would be fun, but probably clunky
Lillard may be an Oakland, California native, but him potentially being traded to the Golden State Warriors is a tad more clunky than you would realize. A backcourt tandem of Lillard and Steph Curry would be dynamite offensively, but very limited on defense. Golden State can give up Andrew Wiggins, James Wiseman and both first-round picks this year to get him. This could work.
New York Knicks
His brand would explode as the star point guard of the New York Knicks
The best landing spot for Lillard has to be the New York Knicks. They need a star, especially at point guard. Derrick Rose is good in spurts, but Lillard is an All-NBA performer. Pairing Lillard with Julius Randle makes the Knicks incredibly compelling. However, the Knicks would have give up RJ Barrett, Obi Toppin, another young player and a handful of future picks to potentially pull this off.
The Philadelphia 76ers have the best trade asset to give up in Ben Simmons
From a pure simplicity standpoint, the Philadelphia 76ers make the most sense. Though it will be a tad more complicated than Lillard for Ben Simmons straight up, that would be the genesis of the trade. The pick-and-roll partnership with Lillard and Joel Embiid makes Philadelphia a serious title contender. Simmons and CJ McCollum in the Portland backcourt becomes a more balanced one.
Overall, all five of these teams will have their reasons to possibly trade for Lillard. Miami and Toronto could be in the mix, but feel like dark horses. Golden State would be so much fun, but the Warriors play in the same Western Conference as Portland and the pieces may not fit. As for New York or Philadelphia, it could end up being an Atlantic Division arms race when it comes to Lillard.
What teams make the most sense to trade for Lillard this summer in a big deal with Portland?