Damian Lillard’s increasingly loud dissatisfaction with the Portland Trail Blazers is the NBA’s worst kept secret at this point.
Although Lillard has outwardly expressed a desire to remain in Portland, where there’s smoke there’s fire. And it’s no accident that there is so much chatter regarding him possibly getting traded in the near future.
If Lillard does get dealt, five very serious suitors have emerged for his services.
“Multiple front-office sources say the Heat, Kings, Knicks, Rockets, and Sixers have recently been the most aggressive suitors,” according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer.
“Front-office executives say that if the Blazers eventually move Lillard, they can expect a return rivaling or surpassing what the Nets gave up for James Harden: multiple young players, plus three first-round picks and four first-round pick swaps. Harden is a former MVP, but he had only two guaranteed seasons left on his contract at the time of the trade.
“Portland could do even better because Lillard has four seasons remaining on his contract worth a grand total of $176 million. The long-term security in Lillard’s contract could lead to more interest from teams and more return in a trade.”
The king’s ransom that Lillard can command should come as no surprise. He is a superstar in the prime of his career.
That said – not everyone believes a trade is on the horizon. Lillard’s teammate, Enes Kanter, doesn’t see his team’s leader leaving.
“I’ve said this in many interviews: he’s the most loyal player I have ever seen in the league,” he said recently.
“…Everytime I go to a basketball camp, kids are always asking if Dame’s going to leave. I don’t think so. I think Dame loves the Blazers and the Portland fans so much. Obviously he wants a championship team, but one thing, he wants to bring a championship to Portland. That’s what people don’t understand. He wants to win a championship like every other player yes. But he wants to do it all in Portland.”
Will he ultimately get dealt at some point over the next year? Time will tell.
— Game 7 (@game7__) July 17, 2021