by Griffin Gamble
Chris Haynes dropped a bombshell of a story Sunday Afternoon. He announced that there was some uncertainty regarding the future of superstar guard Damian Lillard and the Portland TrailBlazers. The backlash he received from fans during the coaching search and whether or not a championship contender can be built may have caused Lillard to want out.
Twitter went up in flames when this story broke. Lillard has been known to be one of the most loyal superstars left in the league. Fans immediately started photoshopping Lillard in their favorite teams uniform. Lillard even had some fun with a Utah Jazz fan who photoshopped him in their jersey, responding in a quote tweet by poking fun at the photoshop job. Another Jazz fan with a little more experience tweeted this gem that got plenty of reaction as well.
With Damian Lillard still under contract with Portland until 2025, the Jazz would have to come up with a trade package to acquire the All-NBA guard. Seeing Donovan Mitchell share a backcourt with Damian Lillard would be electric, but it would be almost impossible for the Jazz to pull this off.
When a superstar reportedly wants out, almost every team begins to think about how they can aquire this player. So, if the Jazz really wanted Lillard they will be competing with almost every team in the league. The Jazz don’t have the assets to put together a package as good as other teams will be able to offer. For instance, imagine a scenario where the Golden State Warriors want to trade for Lillard. They would have James Wiseman, two lottery picks from this year, and a big contract in Andrew Wiggins to match the money Dame is making. This trade would include other first round picks.
If Portland was interested in what the Jazz have to offer, there are a couple of trade scenarios that could be the framework for a deal. Lillard signed a supermax extension that kicks in next season where he will make $39.3 million next season. The Jazz would have to package key rotational pieces to make this happen. A combination of Bojan Bogdanovic and two of the following; Royce O’Neale, Joe Ingles, Jordan Clarkson, or Derrick favors.
The other scenario is something that Jazz might not want to hear but can put into perspective how hard it is to trade for a guy like Lillard. Would you move on from Donovan Mitchell or Gobert for Lillard? Realistically, Portland would want Mitchell more than they would want Gobert. So, if this were to happen, the Jazz would have to bid farewell to their franchise player who has become a fan favorite. In this case, it would also be helpful to sign back Mike Conley in free agency to run the backcourt with Lillard.
It all comes down to what Portland wants and if they are even willing to move on from Lillard. Do they want to completely rebuild with draft picks and young talent? Would they want some good rotational players or a young superstar in Mitchell? In the end, its all just fun offseason talk. It’s still something to keep an eye on as Lillard moving teams could drastically impact the Western Conference.
Featured image courtesy Deseret News