All the NBA Teams Rumored to Want Damian Lillard in Trade

All the NBA Teams Rumored to Want Damian Lillard in Trade

Damian Lillard’s trade request made him the favorite topic of league pundits during Day 2 of NBA Free Agency, 2023. Almost immediately after the news went public, rumors and suggestions exploded. Who would covet Portland’s All-Star guard? What would they offer?

Lillard’s request wasn’t exactly a revelation. “Will he or won’t he?” discussions had circulated since the end of Portland’s season in April. Dame himself had talked about the Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets as desirable destinations long before he made his desire known.

Accordingly, those two franchises received the lion’s share of the jibber-jabber on Day 1 of Dame-mania. But they aren’t the only teams in the race. Over the last 24 hours, multiple articles from national experts have suggested alternate destinations.

In this post, we’re going to set the baseline for teams attached to Lillard by media sources. We’ll start with the basics, then add to it as new rumors arise, keeping all of the day’s speculation in one place.

Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report started the ball rolling, describing Miami’s likely offer:

The Heat are prepared to offer a package centered around Tyler Herro, with possibly Duncan Robinson and picks, sources say. The Heat would prefer to keep Caleb Martin out of any trade scenarios.

Portland could try to include Jusuf Nurkić in a deal, sources say.

Haynes followed up with a Tweet explaining further permutations of the deal:

A potential Portland-Miami deal for Damian Lillard would almost certainly include the involvement of a third team, league sources tell @NBAonTNT, @BleacherReport

Details remained murky, but a little knowledge of the system and knowledge of Portland’s situation would indicate that Herro would not remain in Portland, rather being traded to a third party for more assets as part of the deal.

Following that, Sam Amick of The Athletic wrote one of the definitive pieces on the subject [subscription required]. It chronicled Lillard’s meeting with General Manager Joe Cronin last Monday and the amicable split that Amick claims was already communicated at that point, barring a franchise-changing move in free agency which never emerged.

Amick also argues strongly that Miami is the only destination Lillard desires. He does add that tension between Dame’s goals and Cronin’s, already evident at multiple points leading up to the trade request, may rear its head one more time. If so, rival GM’s are ready to provide alternatives to the “Tyler Herro and Picks” package at the center of the Heat offer.

The list of teams that have interest in Lillard is predictably long, and it’s known to include Philadelphia, the Clippers and Utah. As Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes reported, a third team would likely be necessary in a deal with the Heat. Miami would likely send guard Tyler Herro to Portland in a possible Lillard deal, but he makes little sense on a Blazers roster that is loaded with guards and would likely need to be re-routed to another team.

Finally, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer ran down the Big Eight Non-Miami teams who could enter into the Lillard Sweepstakes. You’ll need to read the article for his full suggestions, but here are the teams and abbreviate versions of possible offers:

1. Sixers: Daryl Morey can compete with Miami’s offer with a future first, a swap, Tyrese Maxey, and expiring salaries.

2. Celtics: Though Lillard reportedly doesn’t want to play for the Celtics, they could offer up to three firsts and one swap with Malcolm Brogdon, Robert Williams, Payton Pritchard, Luke Kornet, and Justin Champagnie.

3. Clippers: Rather than go for James Harden, could the Clippers turn toward Dame? They have only two distant future firsts available to trade (and a swap), but those are high-value picks considering how old the team would be by then. Terrence Mann would be a good, young player to include.

4. Nets: Lillard has already said he’d be happy to be traded to Brooklyn because of his friendship with Mikal Bridges. If the Nets wanted Lillard instead of Herro, they could offer all of their own firsts from 2028 through 2030, plus Suns firsts in 2025, 2027, and 2029 and a swap in 2028, and a Mavericks first in 2029.

That last suggestion was also made by Steve Dewald in our Trade Request edition of the Blazer’s Edge Podcast, recorded yesterday.

Continuing…

5. Jazz: Following a great draft class, the Jazz have plenty of picks to trade and some young talent if [Danny] Ainge is ready to go for it.

6. Spurs: The Spurs have all of their own firsts, plus future firsts from the Bulls, Celtics, Hawks, Hornets, and Raptors. Some are unprotected; some are protected.

7. Pelicans: We already know the Pelicans have several future firsts and young players to dangle. Would they give up Zion Williamson? Brandon Ingram?

8. Raptors: What’s stopping them from tossing three firsts, a swap, OG Anunoby, and some other filler at Portland?

We will update this post with any significant additions or explanations emerging from the frenzy today.

UPDATE: Speaking on SportsCenter, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Miami doesn’t hold “any advantage” in completing a trade for Lillard. Instead, as Portland General Manager Joe Cronin alluded to in his statement yesterday, the Blazers plan to seek the best possible deal for Lillard on the marketplace, which would include a combination of young talent, draft capital and salary cap relief, Wojnarowski said.

“The Blazers front office, the organization, they made it clear to teams who called yesterday about Damian Lillard that they are open for business everywhere in the league on him. Our Marc Spears reports that Damian Lillard wants to play for the Miami Heat, that he has told the Blazers that, but he does not have a no-trade clause in the way that Bradley Beal did. He does not get to control where he goes next. And for Portland, listen, they are going to go out into the marketplace and try to find the best deal they can. It’s a combination of young players, draft picks, salary cap relief — all the things you want when a star of Damian Lillard’s magnitude asks to be traded, and so I think this will not be a quick process and Miami does not have any advantage in trying get a trade for [Lillard].”

If Wojnarowski’s reporting holds true, prepare for the Damian Lillard Sweepstakes to drag out this summer.

UPDATE: The 76ers, mentioned in rumors as a potential suitor for Lillard, reportedly have one condition regarding their outgoing package: no Tyrese Maxey. According to Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer, Philadelphia doesn’t want to include the promising young guard in trade talks.

Have heard pretty consistently that the Sixers have no interest in putting Tyrese Maxey in any trade conversations, including a potential pursuit for Damian Lillard.

In a report today, Marc Stein of the Stein Line [subscription required] confirmed Fischer’s report more emphatically.

Maxey is not available in any trade conversations, according to one team source, with the Sixers adamant that the speedy guard is a significant part of their future and thus not available any scenarios.

In the 2022-23 season, just Maxey’s third in the NBA, the 22-year-old guard averaged 20.3 points and 3.5 assists per game, while shooting 43.4% on 3-pointers.

UPDATE: ESPN’s Bobby Marks proposed his own three-team deal involving the Blazers, Heat and Nets.

In the deal, the Blazers receive Ben Simmons, Duncan Robinson, two Phoenix Suns first round picks (25, 29), a first from the Dallas Mavericks (29), two Heat firsts (28,30) and a pick swap (29).

The Heat receive Damian Lillard.

The Nets receive Tyler Herro.

SNY’s Ian Begley has also suggested Brooklyn might be open to taking on Herro.

It’s unclear which Nets players were discussed as part of the three-team trade and if Brooklyn had any other stipulations for completing a deal. But as of Saturday evening, the Nets were, at least, open to the idea of a trade that landed Herro in Brooklyn.

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