NBA Rumors: Door for Lakers to add Damian Lillard is creeping open
The Los Angeles Lakers are naturally going to be connected to any superstar that finds themselves in the NBA rumors mill. Los Angeles has the most prolific franchise in the entire sport and the speculation around the franchise always runs rampant.
Sometimes that speculation is a bad thing, which is the case with Kyrie Irving. While it does not appear that the Lakers are going to target Irving this summer, they did try to trade for him at the deadline and his former teammate thinks he could reunite with LeBron.
If not Irving, perhaps the Lakers could pursue another superstar point guard. The Portland Trail Blazers recently shut down Damian Lillard for the rest of the season and that has naturally sparked some intrigue with how poor this season went despite Lillard’s elite play.
NBA insider Shams Charania added fuel to that fire when he speculated that there could be a meeting between Lillard and Portland that discusses his future with the team.
“You have to wonder if he is going to play another game for the Portland Trail Blazers just based on how much optimism there was going into this year after they got Jerami Grant, the start that they had and now not making it to the playoffs. […] I expect there to be some real conversations this offseason about how this team can improve and if they can’t, where do they go with Damian Lillard and his future.”
NBA Rumors: Lakers could be a team to watch for a Damian Lillard trade.
Nothing is guaranteed and there is a chance that Damian Lillard and the Blazers iron things out and don’t move the star point guard. However, we know that anything can happen in the NBA there seems to be at least one disgruntled star every six months.
If Lillard does indeed hit the block then the Lakers are definitely a team to keep an eye on. They would by no means be the favorite to land Lillard but they could put together enough assets to make a trade happen if they really deemed fit.
It would take the Los Angeles Lakers sign-and-trading D’Angelo Russell to the Blazers as the main piece. That would hard cap the Lakers next season at the luxury tax, which would hinder the team’s ability to bring in depth next season.
However, if ownership wanted to avoid going over the luxury tax they could do this as an excuse to why they can’t go over the tax. It is the same logic that would apply if the team were to sign and trade for Kyrie Irving.
Los Angeles also has picks it can trade. The team can trade its 2023 first-round pick once the swap happens with the Pelicans and can also trade a 2028 pick swap, 2029 first and 2030 pick swap. It would mortgage the future but it would give LA a big three and would give the team someone to pair with Anthony Davis for the next 3-4 years after LeBron James potentially leaves.
It is likely? No. Is it even the best move the Lakers can make this summer? Definitely not. Lillard is on the wrong side of 30 and has had injury concerns. But is it possible? It sure is.
A Russell Westbrook trade did not seem likely and this front office still did that. A Lillard trade would not be as bad, so you cannot rule out the possibility of Rob Pelinka talking himself into a splashy move like this with pressure from LeBron James.