Damian Lillard Trade Rumors: Lakers, Nets Had Interest in Deal in 2019 Offseason

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistAugust 26, 2020

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) drives against Los Angeles Lakers guard Danny Green (14) during the first half of Game 2 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Kim Klement/Pool Photo via AP)
Kim Klement/Associated Press

Damian Lillard has remained loyal to the Portland Trail Blazers, but he has had opportunities to leave.

According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, the Los Angeles Lakers had interest in pairing the point guard with LeBron James last offseason before the team eventually landed Anthony Davis. He also could have joined Kevin Durant with the Brooklyn Nets had he shown interest, but the team eventually pursued Kyrie Irving instead.

Lillard stuck with his team, signing a four-year, $196 million supermax extension that will keep him in Portland through 2024-25.

With the Lakers, Lillard could have paired with James to create a top contender in the Western Conference. The Nets would have been more of a long-term move with Durant missing all of 2019-20 with an Achilles injury.

Still, either James or Durant would have been the best player Lillard ever played alongside.

In eight seasons in the NBA, the guard has earned five All-Star selections but has played with only one other All-Star, LaMarcus Aldridge, who left Portland in 2015. Carmelo Anthony is a proven player on this year's roster, but he hasn't received an All-Star nod since 2016-17.

It left an uphill battle for Lillard, who helped lead the Trail Blazers to the Western Conference Finals in 2019. This year's team struggled with inconsistency for much of the year until getting red-hot in the bubble, climbing the standings to reach the playoffs.

After a Game 1 win over the Los Angeles Lakers, however, Portland is now on the brink of elimination. Lillard is expected to miss Game 5 with a knee sprain, per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.

It will remain a challenge for the Trail Blazers to contend for a championship each year, but Lillard clearly wants to stick it out with his current team.