Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers were eliminated for the playoffs on Thursday night. During Lillard's nine seasons in the Portland, the Blazers have been to the postseason eight times, but have only won four series. After another disappointing ending, the time has come to speculate on how much longer he will stick with Portland. This morning on First Take Stephen A. Smith said that multiple teams thought they had a shot at acquiring Lillard this summer.
According to Smith, a player reached out to him and apparently told him that six or seven teams think they can get their hands on Lillard. Those teams include the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers, Miami Heat, and "who knows what the Lakers might try to do." Smith then said to "stay tuned." So I guess this is the new Will Giannis Leave the Milwaukee?
This might be a record for the earliest into a contract that League Sources have started speculating that a player might want to abandon ship. Lillard signed a four-year max contract extension in June 2019. It does not even kick in until this summer, which means he is signed through the end of the 2024-2025 season when he will have the ability to exercise a $54 million player option for a fifth year.
So for the Blazers to give up a player of Lillard's caliber, with four or five years remaining on his deal, they would need a monster return. Especially considering there haven't even been any peeps from Lillard's camp. Unless you count this Instagram post following the loss last night.
That's a Nipsey Hussle lyric, but it's decidedly emo considering the circumstances. Perhaps Dame was just feeling down after another disappointing postseason loss. He could just be wondering when things will work out for him in Portland. It doesn't say anything about leaving.
Besides, this is the guy who was literally named the best teammate in the NBA last night. Before game six he was presented with the Twyman - Stokes Teammate of the Year Award because of his "selfless play, on and off court leadership as a mentor and role model to other NBA players, and commitment and dedication to team."
This just seems like someone trying to sew discord in Portland. Other teams should want Lillard because he's awesome. But he's under contract. And has never expressed any interest in going elsewhere. So they need to try and drive a wedge between the team and the star. Anonymously tell Stephen A. how much those franchises in Florida, New York and California want him and how they think they can land him. And now is the time to do it. Right when the pain is fresh and he's wondering how much longer will he have to wait? It's a seed that has to be planted if there's going to be any chance of it growing into a large tree shaped like a trade demand. So people are going to keep putting this out there, even if nothing ever comes of it.