In recent news, Portland Trail Blazers Damian Lillard has voiced his concerns with the team. Portland is currently 11-15 in the Western Conference, and dead last in the league defensively. With the team struggling to start the season, Lillard spoke out about a possible trade. The All-Star guard did not request a trade to leave Portland. However, he did say that he wanted to play with multiple players.
Lillard Eyes Jaylen Brown
The Boston Celtics forward was amongst the list of players that Lillard wanted to play with. He said he wanted a partner that was ‘defensively minded’. Brown is an elite defender and is able to guard the best perimeter and wing player on the court. On the season, Brown is averaging 21.4 points, 5.2 rebounds, and 1.1 steals per game. There have been mutual calls between Lillard and Brown about playing together. The conversation has not been made public, but it is known that both players are intrigued to play alongside one another.
The NBA has a strict tampering policy, agents and franchisees are not allowed to make contact with other players about playing with their clients or franchise until the free agency period starts. In the league, players are allowed to call one another and discuss potential scenarios, as long as it does not involve their agents. The only known information that came out from the conversation is that Lillard was asking about the lifestyle of playing in Boston.
The Trade Scenario
Since Lillard was asking about the chemistry, lifestyle, and all things Boston, it is fair to assume that Brown was trying to convince the All-Star to request a trade. Boston has a lot to offer for the point guard; they have the young talent and draft capital to make a good offer. With Aaron Nesmith and Romeo Langford as the catalyst to the trade, the team will have to offer three first-round picks. Although the money does not quite work with just the young players and picks, it would have to force Portlands hands to pay for the part of the contract.
It is not rare to see teams pay for part of a player’s contract to make the money work. Trading away Lillard would send Portland into a rebuild. Money would not be a problem as the team is looking to lose games for better draft capital. Adding both Kemba Walker’s and Daniel Theis’s trade exception and either Josh Richardson or Marcus Smart would make the trade plausible if Portland is willing to pay roughly $4 million for the remainder of his contract for this season.
Having Lillard on the team would ignite this team into a title contender. He is a scoring guard who is capable of playmaking when needed. A lethal scorer, and one of the most clutch players in the league. The point guard would provide the needed fourth-quarter energy that this team severely lacks. This trade would boost Lillard’s play as his major concern in Portland is their defense. Boston is ranked in the top ten in defense. In addition, they have plenty of defensive-minded talent that he is seeking to play alongside.
It seems very unlikely that Portland would trade Lillard this season, but the talks have ramped up as the disgruntled All-Star may be willing to relocate. Since Lillard came out about being unhappy, and his praise towards Brown and the team has made a few other players make similar phone calls. These players have stayed quiet to the media, but it is speculated that Bradley Beal and a few Indiana Pacers players could have been in contact with Brown and Jayson Tatum. These players are having the same conversation that Brown and Lillard had. Asking about the chemistry in Boston and what it is like to be around the Boston atmosphere.
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Main Image Credit: via TBN