NBA Rumors: Latest Buzz Surrounding Damian Lillard Trade, Blazers GM Search

Theo SalaunCorrespondent IDecember 6, 2021

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) brings the ball up court in the first half during an NBA basketball game against the Utah Jazz Monday, Nov. 29, 2021, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
Rick Bowmer/Associated Press

From title hopes to 10th in the Western Conference. Frustrations are building for the 11-13 Portland Trail Blazers and the firing of general manager Neil Olshey has only added to organizational uncertainty.

There are questions about interim GM Joe Cronin's eventual replacement. Names like Tayshaun Prince are floating around.

On another level, the questions about superstar Damian Lillard's future with the organization have, once again, sparked. And, if he does demand a departure, it's expected that he will head east.


Damian Lillard: Future Knick or 76er?

While Lillard has remained relatively steadfast about wanting to win in Portland, that prospect grows dimmer by the day. At an aforementioned 11-13, even the team's playoff hopes are bleaker than ever.

At 31 years old, the All-Star point guard is a frequent discussion point in trade chatter. His team is failing to meet expectations and many think he'd be better off giving his later years to another organization. Now, we have some sense of which potential organizations are front and center.

Kyle Neubeck @KyleNeubeck

Stephen A. Smith just said on NBA Countdown that New York is the one place Dame Lillard would angle for if he eventually wanted/asked out. Adds, “There are people in his camp who would like him to give Philadelphia stronger consideration.”

According to Stephen A. Smith, Dame's preferred destination would be the New York Knicks. But his "camp" wants him to consider another possibility on the East Coast: the Philadelphia 76ers.

Both teams have obvious needs at point guard, especially perimeter shooting, making them good fits. There's still no indication that Portland wants to move him, or that he even wants to leave, but a worsening situation could beget a growing desire for change.


Blazers Ignoring Ainge, Considering Prince and Barry for GM

As for who would be in charge of conducting a Lillard trade, if there was to be one? Currently, it's Cronin, but the team is looking elsewhere for a long-term hire.

Dwight Jaynes @dwightjaynes

Inside source told me tonight the Blazers have not even spoken to Danny Ainge about vacant GM job. Oregon native, former Blazer, won a title as GM, very experienced. To not even talk to him is ridiculous. At a crucial time for this franchise when big decisions are due

Journalist Dwight Jaynes reportthat that, to his surprise, former Celtics GM Ainge hasn't been approached for the position.

Instead, Jake Fisher pointed to two more-recent players as potential options: Tayshaun Prince and Brent Barry, who are involved in the Memphis Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs front offices, respectively.

While Jaynes calls it "ridiculous" that Ainge isn't in the running, the Prince and Barry options are intriguing. Prince has obvious ties to former teammate and current Blazers head coach Chauncey Billups, and Barry is involved in one of the most highly regarded front offices in the league.