Damian Lillard Trade Rumors: Knicks, Clippers, Heat Think They Can Get Blazers Star

Adam WellsJune 4, 2021

PORTLAND, OREGON - JUNE 03: Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers reacts after his three point basket in the second quarter against the Denver Nuggets during Round 1, Game 6 of the 2021 NBA Playoffs at Moda Center on June 03, 2021 in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)
Steph Chambers/Getty Images

As soon as the clock hit zero in the Portland Trail Blazers' season-ending loss to the Denver Nuggets on Thursday night, speculation about Damian Lillard's future began.

ESPN's Stephen A. Smith said on Friday's episode of First Take that there are "six or seven different teams" that believe they can acquire Lillard, including the New York Knicks, Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat.

Jason Quick and Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Saturday that "several" teams, including big-market clubs, are "intensely monitoring" the situation.

Lillard did make some interesting comments about the Portland roster following the team's 126-115 loss to Denver in Game 6:

"We didn't win a championship, so obviously where we are now isn't good enough. I don't know what a shakeup looks like or what changes will be made or could be made, but obviously as is, it wasn't good enough. We came up short against a team without their starting point guard and shooting guard [Jamal Murray and Will Barton]. ... Obviously, where we are isn't good enough to win a championship if it's not good enough to get out of a first-round series with two of their best three or four players not on the floor."

There has been no indication the Blazers will look to deal Lillard, nor that he intends to seek a trade.

Lillard and CJ McCollum are the only Portland players under contract beyond the 2021-22 season, but the front office is unlikely to have much flexibility next season, especially if it re-signs Norman Powell (player option).

ESPN's Bobby Marks called McCollum, whose three-year, $100 million extension will begin next season, the Blazers' "best trade option" if they want to reshape their roster.

Lillard's four-year, $176.3 million extension also takes effect in 2021-22. The six-time All-Star had one of the best seasons of his career this season. He averaged 28.8 points per game with 39.1 percent shooting from three-point range.

Despite averaging 34.3 points and shooting 44.9 percent from three in six games against the Nuggets, Lillard and the Blazers lost in the first round of the playoffs for the fifth time in the past seven years.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.