Stephen A.: Damian Lillard Has Knicks as 'No. 1 Destination' If He Were to Seek Trade

Adam WellsAugust 1, 2021

United States's Damian Lillard (6) drives up court during a men's basketball preliminary round game against the Czech Republic at the 2020 Summer Olympics, Saturday, July 31, 2021, in Saitama, Japan. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

Damian Lillard hasn't requested a trade from the Portland Trail Blazers, but the six-time All-Star reportedly has a destination in mind if he decides to pursue a deal at some point. 

Appearing on SiriusXM NBA Radio, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith said Lillard has the New York Knicks as his "No. 1 destination" if he requests a trade. 

SiriusXM NBA Radio @SiriusXMNBA

“I’m telling you what I know. I’m not guessing.”<br> <a href="https://twitter.com/stephenasmith?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@stephenasmith</a> tells <a href="https://twitter.com/hoopscritic?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@hoopscritic</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/SamMitchellNBA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@SamMitchellNBA</a> that even though Damian Lillard isn’t “keen on being traded,” if it happens, he’d want to call Madison Square Garden home. <a href="https://t.co/suXDX3Wt4k">pic.twitter.com/suXDX3Wt4k</a>

Lillard is currently in Tokyo playing for the United States men's basketball team in the Olympics. 

Sam Amick of The Athletic reported last week that Lillard will remain focused on his Olympic commitment "while waiting to see how the Blazers’ roster looks later in the offseason before reassessing his situation."

Coming off a playoff appearance last season, the Knicks would seem to have a lot of momentum if they want to add a superstar to their roster. 

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported in May on an episode of The Woj Pod (beginning at the 38:20 mark) that the Knicks are on "disgruntled star alert," meaning they could look to pursue a player who is unhappy with his current situation. 

Lillard hasn't indicated he's unhappy in Portland, but he did make it clear after the team's first-round playoff loss to the Denver Nuggets that changes must be made. 

"I mean, we didn't win a championship, so obviously where we are now isn't good enough," Lillard told reporters following Portland's season-ending defeat in Game 6 against Denver. "I don't know what a shake-up looks like or what changes will be made or could be made, but obviously as it is wasn't good enough."

Portland has made the playoffs in each of the past eight seasons, but it has been eliminated in the first round five times during that span. 

Lillard would likely be the most sought-after trade candidate this offseason if he requests a move out of Portland. The 31-year-old averaged 28.8 points and 7.5 assists per game with a 39.1 three-point percentage last season.