The Golden State Warriors don't believe Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard would be open to joining the team via trade as both clubs look to rebound after disappointing finishes to their respective seasons.
According to Marcus Thompson II of The Athletic, the Warriors have turned their attention to Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal, should he become available. Lillard, an Oakland native, would also make sense paired with Stephen Curry in Golden State's backcourt, though multiple sources told Thompson the Warriors "don't suspect" Lillard is interested in a homecoming.
Though Lillard has spoke at length about the Blazers' need to improve beyond hiring head coach Chauncey Billups this offseason, he has yet to formally request a trade.
Earlier on Thursday, the Athletic's Jason Quick reported further details on how the Blazers are approaching the offseason given Lillard's comments this summer:
Lillard last week shot down a published rumor that he would ask for a trade in “the coming days.” That denial came during a media availability for Team USA after a practice in Las Vegas, hours before he would meet with Olshey and Billups. While Lillard made the trade-request denial and said his intentions and heart were on staying in Portland, he stopped short of committing to Portland, where he is under contract for three more seasons, with a player option for a fourth. Lillard said he hasn’t made any “firm decisions on what my future will be.”
Within the Blazers — both on the business side and the basketball side — Lillard’s call for accountability and action has been met with the appropriate alarm. No one yet is convinced he will request a trade, and as one executive put it, “I don’t think he wants to leave. He has built an empire here. But we have to assume he is leaving to make sure he is not leaving.”
As Golden State attempts to maximize the remainder of Curry's prime—and career, overall—adding another scoring threat has become a crucial area of concern. The club averaged 113.7 points per game in 2020-21, tied for 11th-best in the league, but shot 46.8 percent from the field. Most of that offensive effort was reliant on Curry, who won the regular season scoring title with 32 points per game—just edging out Beal at 31.3 points per game.
Even as Klay Thompson prepares to return from his second consecutive season-ending injury, it's unclear what type of player he'll be and how much he can take on right away.
After falling in the NBA play-in tournament last year, Golden State appears ready to make a big move. That just won't include Lillard unless there's significant change of heart in Portland.