The Portland Trailblazers started the year out with a bang. They were one of the better teams in the Western Conference, but injuries and inconsistent play crept in throughout the season and now they find themselves outside the playoff window once again. The team decided that it was time to shut down star guard Damian Lillard for the rest of the season once it was clear that they would be out of playoff contention. Lillard showed everyone that he was still capable of putting up strong numbers but his days in Portland really may be coming to an end.
It has been reported that the team and Lillard will have “serious discussions” about his future once the offseason kicks off and Lillard has talked about how he wants no part of a rebuild. Lillard has been one of the most loyal players around the league, consistently talking about his want to win in Portland. However, fate has had other ideas and now the thought of Portland moving him is more real than ever. Here are a few landing spots for the star guard if the two sides do agree to part this summer.
3. Los Angeles Lakers
Lillard has been linked to the Lakers for what seems like forever. But until now, the threat of him actually leaving Portland has never had much validity to it. There is a good chance that the Lakers run this current group back to give themselves a full season and see what they could do but whenever a player like Lillard becomes available, it could change things. The team was willing to look into pairing LeBron James and Anthony Davis with Kyrie Irving so why not Lillard? He would be the ideal third star next to those two and gives the Lakers added firepower. The Laker pairing is unlikely but you can never fully rule it out until Lillard is moved somewhere else.
2. Denver Nuggets
If Denver is bounced earlier than expected during this upcoming playoff run, one may think that they will look to change some things on the roster. They could offer Portland a package of players like Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr., who could entice them. Pairing Lillard with Nikola Jokic would be fun to watch. This would be a sign from the Nuggets front office that they are going “all in” and Denver fans would be all for it. They want to win a title and this core may not be enough. Getting a true superstar to pair with Jokic would really open their title window and Lillard isn’t getting any younger either. The time is now for Denver to make a move like this and up to this point, they haven’t been super aggressive with moves like this.
1. Boston Celtics
Like the Nuggets, the Celtics interest here is likely contingent on how far they go into the postseason. But we can’t deny some of the inter-locker room issues that have gone on with Jaylen Brown. The team tried to trade him last offseason for Kevin Durant and that clearly stung deep for Brown. So much that recently he spoke again about it during a key stretch of the season. He made it clear that he isn’t sure if he is staying in Boston long-term and the Celtics dangling him for Durant shows that they aren’t sold either. A swap of Brown for Lillard could satisfy both sides. The Trailblazers get a nice, young player that they can build around and the Celtics get a star point guard to pair with Jayson Tatum. Lillard would instantly get a shot at a title and Boston would be one of the favorites in the NBA.