The Los Angeles Lakers have been one of the most active teams this offseason with a plethora of moves via free agency to reshape the roster around All-Star forward LeBron James.
This has pushed forth the conversation of the team possibly looking to the trade market to acquire other All-Star level talents aside from the San Antonio Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard that has potentially thrown Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard in the mix. Stephen A. Smith of ESPN has brought more life to that possibility stating on Thursday during his radio show that Lillard could in play for the Lakers or New York. (h/t
And if Damian Lillard is going to leave the comfortable and financially beneficial confines of Portland, it’s only for two places from what I’m being told. He’s only interested in New York or LA. One of the two. New York or LA, and by LA, I mean the Lakers, not the Clippers. That’s what Damian Lillard wants. His preference would be for the Portland Trail Blazers to find somebody, somebody big time to join him and CJ McCollum in Portland. That’s Damian Lillard’s preference. But if they can’t improve the team and if they can’t find anybody, then he’s interested in going one of two places: my sources tell me it’s the Lakers or the Knicks.
If the Blazers are interested in exploring this route, the Lakers certainly have the assets to make an intriguing trade package with their young core group with Brandon Ingram, Lonzo Ball, Josh Hart, and Kyle Kuzma. This would likely require Los Angeles to bundle a couple of these promising players in order make a serious offer that would likely include putting Luol Deng, who has two years left in his four-year, $72 million deal, in the offer to help them take on Lillard’s $27.9 million salary for the 2018-19 season.
The 27-year-old is currently in the third year of his five-year, $139.8 million deal that runs through the 2020-21 season. He is coming off yet another highly productive campaign where he averaged 26.9 points on 43.9 percent shooting from the field and 36.1 percent from beyond the arc along with 6.6 assists, and 4.5 rebounds that earned his third All-Star selection and first All-NBA First Team nod.
At this point, it is still pure speculation, but things could ramp up in the near future if the Lakers feel that they have serious interest in possibly making a move for Lillard.