Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers came into this season with something of an uneasy truce. He was vocally dissatisfied with the team’s free agency moves, but both sides seemed to agree to come together and see how the year began.
Eight games in, it’s not looking good. The Blazers are 3-5 in the early going, with losses on the books to inferior foes like the Sacramento Kings, Los Angeles Clippers and Cleveland Cavaliers.
Unlike in years past, Portland doesn’t have injuries as a crutch it can lean on for poor performance.
The Blazers simply aren’t very good.
Over the past couple of months Lillard getting traded has been a popular topic of debate. A potential swap with the Philadelphia 76ers involving Ben Simmons has loomed large and continues to be something folks around the league are keeping an eye on. The Golden State Warriors have also been mentioned as a potential Lillard landing spot.
This week, ESPN NBA insider Stephen A. Smith dismissed both options. In his estimation, if Lillard has his way there is only one team he’d truly want to end up with: the New York Knicks.
.@stephenasmith thinks the Knicks > the Sixers as a landing spot for Damian Lillard.
“I happen to know that if Damian Lillard were to ever depart from Portland, that’s where his No. 1 choice would be.” pic.twitter.com/NVFUuAWqmC
— First Take (@FirstTake) November 2, 2021
“I happen to know that if Damian Lillard were to ever depart from Portland, that’s where his No. 1 choice would be,” Smith said. “Not Brooklyn, but the city, where [Kevin Durant] should be. Where KD and [James] Harden should be.”
Now that’s a Halloween costume. https://t.co/WVK6W11K9M
— Game 7 (@game7__) November 1, 2021
This isn’t the first time Lillard has been linked to the Knicks in this capacity.
Keep an eye on how the Blazers look over the next 10 to 20 games. If they continue to struggle in the way they have thus far, the prospect of Lillard will suddenly become much more realistic.
Charles Kruger has been credentialed to cover two Super Bowls, four NBA Finals, and one World Series. A 20-year veteran in the sports world, he has sources spanning the NBA, MLB, NFL, UFC and NASCAR. Currently residing in Los Angeles, Calif., he is Game 7’s go-to source for rumors surrounding the Lakers, Clippers and Dodgers.