If the Brooklyn Nets go star-hunting in the coming months, it seems that Damian Lillard could be in play for them.
Some NBA executives believe that the Nets would enter the Lillard sweepstakes if the superstar and his Portland Trail Blazers agree to part ways. It’s unclear, though, if Brooklyn would be able to create a trade package that would entice the Blazers to consummate a deal.
“If Lillard and Portland decide a parting of ways is best for both sides, multiple NBA executives believe the Nets could be a suitor for the All-Star guard but were unsure if Brooklyn could ultimately land him in a trade,” wrote Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.
One executive stated that the seven-time All-Star could be just what the doctor ordered for the Nets, not only due to his talents, but also because of his leadership skills.
“Dame would be the leader they (Nets) need,” the executive told HoopsHype. “I’m just not sure they have the pieces to get him, but they should try. The picks they have coming in aren’t great. It would probably take Ben Simmons’ contract to make the numbers work, but you’d have to attach picks to him on top of the picks you need for Lillard.”
A lack of assets might prove to be a hindrance to Brooklyn’s potential pursuit of a Lillard trade.
It should be noted that the package the Nets acquired in exchange for superstar veteran Kevin Durant included a rising star (Mikal Bridges), a starter (Cameron Johnson) and multiple draft picks. While Lillard’s trade value is probably lower than that of Durant, it stands to reason that the Blazers would want a trade package that’s somewhat comparable to what Brooklyn received.
That becomes tricky since the Nets would likely prefer not to part ways with many key players in order to provide Lillard with a competitive supporting cast. They do, however, have a cupboard of draft assets with which they could try to tempt Portland.
Another executive feels that Lillard being 32 years old and having a massive contract might not give the Blazers that much leverage, so one young player and some first-round picks could be enough to land the star point guard.
“I can see the Nets going for Dame, but he’s older, and that contract is so high,” another NBA executive told HoopsHype. “He could be worth a couple of firsts and a good young player.”
That might be the case, but if Lillard were to become available on the market, it is highly possible that other organizations around the league would also consider joining the party and bidding for his services.