Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) shoots over New York Knicks guard Elfrid Payton (6) and guard Alec Burks
Multiple factors surrounding the Portland Trail Blazers may ‘push’ franchise star Damian Lillard “out the door,” according to a Yahoo Sports report.
The possibility of Lillard leaving Portland is obviously something that intrigues the Knicks – and any other NBA team hoping to land one of the top point guards in the game.
Obviously, Portland wouldn’t trade Lillard unless it was forced to do so.
But as you’d expect, members of the Knicks organization have been doing homework/prep work on the possibility of Lillard becoming available via trade, per sources.
Dating back to Steve Mills’ tenure as team president, the Knicks have been keeping on eye on Lillard’s situation in Portland because some around Lillard wanted to see the six-time All Star in a bigger market.
If Lillard asked to be traded from Portland, the Knicks would be among dozens of teams interested in trading for the 30-year-old.
Since Lillard is under contract through 2024-25, it’s reasonable to assume that he couldn’t force Portland to trade him to a specific organization. At the same time, it would be a huge risk for a team to trade for Lillard without assurances that he wanted to be part of the organization.
Why would a team put together a huge trade package for Lillard if they didn’t think he wanted to be there?
So Lillard would presumably have some control over where he’s traded.
If nothing materializes with Lillard, the Knicks have other options at point guard. They can pursue free agents such as Kyle Lowry, Dennis Schroeder, Kendrick Nunn, Lonzo Ball or Chris Paul. They can also seek to trade for another point guard.
People in touch with the organization recently came away with the impression that New York would be interested in trading for Lillard, but would also be content to take a longer-term approach with the roster if the right opportunity didn’t arise.