Los Angeles Lakers: Don’t get excited, a Damian Lillard trade won’t happen

(Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images)
(Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images) /

Fans are clamoring over Damian Lillard being traded to the Los Angeles Lakers.

Out of any of the four professional sports leagues in the United States, the NBA absolutely has the most trade rumors about the biggest stars in the game. Being the most glamorous professional sports team in the country, the Los Angeles Lakers are often tied to those rumors.

Right now, the league’s focus is on returning to action in the Orlando bubble with the first of the seeding games set to tip-off on July 30. Even that does not stop the rumors from buzzing.

Marc Berman of the New York Post claimed that it is believed that if Damian Lillard ever asked for a trade from the Portland Trail Blazers that he would request a trade to the New York Knicks or Los Angeles Lakers. This is in response to a comment that Lillard made about the Knicks and Madison Square Garden.

"“Lillard said during the pandemic, “I thought I was headed [to the Knicks] a few years ago. I was hearing trade rumors. The Garden is my favorite place to play.””"

Now, on paper, this would be incredible. Damian Lillard potentially teaming up with Anthony Davis and/or LeBron James in Los Angeles would be a fun sight. Lillard is one of the most lethal scoring guards in the league and can take over a game in the biggest moments.

He is a player that is often overlooked (despite being on the cover of NBA 2K21). In Los Angeles, he would get the full spotlight he deserves and would be a perfect fit on the Lakers.

There is only one problem: this is never going to happen.

Why Damian Lillard will never be traded to the Los Angeles Lakers:

First of all — Lillard has little stake in the game to even force his way out of Portland. Lillard has a massive five-year super-max extension that kicks in after the 2020-21 season.

So not only is Lillard going to make $31.6 million next year, but he is going to make another $196 million in the following four seasons. He is making a quarter of a billion dollars in five years, with five years remaining under contract.

It is kind of hard to force your way out of a situation when you are locked in for another half-decade.

The Lakers simply do not have the assets to make this trade happen now or any time soon. They do not have the young capital, do not have any extra draft capital and don’t really even have the contracts to even make this doable per the NBA’s trading rules.

It just is not possible.

However, due to several rumors that LeBron wanted to play with Lillard and with how complementary Lillard has been with James (h/t Harrison Faigen, Silver Screen and Roll), there is still hope that somewhere down the line Lillard can be a Laker.

Sure, you could make the case that he could come to the Lakers once LeBron’s contract is up, but there are two problems with that. First, it is still going to be borderline impossible to actually acquire Lillard for a fair price and second, the team could be looking at Giannis Antetokounmpo in free agency instead.

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Or the Los Angeles Lakers can wait until his contract is up and sign him at 35 years old, which does not have the same zing to it as trading for him.