At points of the NBA offseason, Damian Lillard was at the forefront of attention in trade rumors and for all of the wrong reasons. Not only did the Trail Blazers move on from long-time head coach Terry Stotts in the offseason, replacing him with Chauncey Billups, but they really did not do anything to help themselves.
The Trail Blazers brought back Norman Powell on a long-term, $90M deal, plus they signed Tony Snell, Ben McLemore, and Cody Zeller all to minimum contracts, but this team really is not better roster-wise than they were a season ago. Damian Lillard has not formally requested a trade yet, but it is looking more and more likely that the 2021-22 NBA season could very well be Lillard’s last season in a Blazers uniform.
The 6x All-Star and potential MVP candidate is playing the best basketball of his career right now and he wants to be in a winning situation. Of course, he would love for that situation to be in Portland, but the Trail Blazers’ front office has proven time and time again that they are not willing to make the moves necessary to make their superstar happy.
If the Trail Blazers were to underachieve in the postseason again during the upcoming season, could Lillard decide to take his talents elsewhere? In the event that this happens, the 76ers and Knicks will be at the front of the line to try and acquire him, but what about the New Orleans Pelicans?
LATEST NBA NEWS & RUMORS: 3 Last-Minute Ben Simmons Trades We’d Like To See
Over the years, the Pelicans have tried to build a winning culture, but have failed to do so because of their lack of star power. Now with Zion Williamson and Brandon Ingram, they finally have two high-level, young players to build around/with moving forward and they have a need for another big-name player like Damian Lillard.
They struck out on trying to grab Spencer Dinwiddie and Kyle Lowry in the offseason, so going after Lillard should he become available seems like something the Pelicans would be “all-in” on doing. While they did just bring in Devonte’ Graham via a sign-and-trade with Charlotte to command their backcourt, the Pelicans have the cap space and tradable assets to put together a lucrative offer for Dame should they choose to pursue him.
The big question though that remains is what would the Trail Blazers want in return for Lillard? Let’s take a look at a hypothetical trade package New Orleans could look to offer Portland to try and acquire Damian Lillard.