Portland Trailblazers All-NBA goalie Damian Lillard recently publicly expressed his displeasure with organization – a move that in contemporary NBA has often proven to be a prelude to an exodus.
In other words, due to the Blazers’ handling of their recent search for coaches and the fact that they haven’t been able to put together a championship-caliber squad in their nine years at Portland, Lillard might be looking for a change of scenery. Enter the Golden State Warriors.
The Dubs are likely to be mentioned in any big-name business rumors this offseason, as Klay Thompson returns from two years on the sidelines with injury and the team’s Big 3 look to prepare. for another run in the NBA Finals. The Warriors have plenty of young assets to sway in a potential superstar trade, including sophomore big man James Wiseman as well as the No.7 and No.14 picks in the upcoming NBA Draft.
But with several stars potentially on the move from their current locations, including Washington Wizards Bradley Beal, Toronto Raptors Pascal Siakam and Philadelphia 76ers Ben Simmons, pertinent questions about Lillard revolve around his suitability for the Warriors and suitability. of his contract with the already stretched salary cap of the team.
Warriors could make contracts work in potential trade for Lillard
Lillard has four years and $ 176 million left on his Portland contract, which would be a hard sum of money for the Warriors to absorb in what is already the league’s most expensive roster. However, if Golden State included Andrew Wiggins in a notional deal with the Trailblazers, the math would work.
NBC Sports reported that according to ESPN’s business machine, a swap that included the two years and $ 65 million remaining on Wiggins’ contract would allow teams to meet the contractual requirements imposed by the NBA for such a deal.
But Wiggins alone is probably a far cry from what the Blazers would want to part ways with Lillard, who is arguably one of the top ten players in the league. Including Wiseman and one or both of the Warriors’ first-round picks in the upcoming draft might be enough to overwhelm any other offers Portland will present.
This potential package raises the question of how much Lillard is worth to Golden State, especially given the roster of the squad as it stands now?
Does Lillard fit the future of a successful warrior?
If the Brooklyn Nets have proven anything with their acquisitions of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden, it’s that there isn’t too much talent on a team – even if a collection of stars represents redundant skills.
Lillard is a dominant playmaker, often compared to Steph Curry in both playstyle and skill level. The two on the floor together feel like it could be too good a thing, as the presence of one dilutes that of the other to some extent.
However, Curry has shown a propensity for successfully playing the ball, which Lillard could theoretically do as well, especially since both are sharpshooters beyond the arc.
Thompson is already used to playing ballless until it’s time to hit a big three-point shot, and Draymond Green has always been willing to rely on the superior offensive prowess of his teammates in the backcourt.
A team associating Lillard with the Big 3 of the Warriors would be devastating from an offensive standpoint. Curry is pulling 43.3% from the depths of his career, while Lillard is posting a 37.5% rating. Thompson also shoots 41.9% from a distance.
So while defense in this hypothetical Warriors backcourt would be problematic to say the least, on a good shooting night, it’s hard to imagine most NBA teams able to keep up with the Lillard / trio. Curry / Thompson.
Perhaps the biggest hurdle for Lillard to end up in the Bay Area, where the star guard grew up, is that the Blazers would likely be reluctant to trade their top player for a big conference rival. However, if Portland does end up selling Lillard, the franchise will have to start over, and the heap of young assets the Warriors could offer just might do the trick.