So you want Damian Lillard on your team? Well, it’s going to cost you — substantially.
Ever since the Boston Celtics were eliminated from playoff contention, there’s been a lingering glimmer of hope that they could potentially be trade suitors for Lillard. That pipedream gained some realism over the weekend when Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes dropped this bombshell report:
The enormous backlash from the Portland Trail Blazers’ process to hire a new coach and his concerns on whether a championship contender can be built have become factors that may push the franchise player — Damian Lillard — out the door, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Lillard has remained loyal to Portland in large part due to the tremendous fan base. But over the last few days, he’s seen some of those same fans attacking him on social media for a pending coaching hire he played no part in consummating, sources said.
With Lillard‘s patience seemingly growing thin in Portland, the Celtics would appear to make plenty of sense as a potential trade partner — for all parties involved. With that said, as much of a positive effect as Lillard would make on the Celtics’ roster, such a move could also greatly handicap the Celtics’ depth moving forward.
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Celtics Nearly Sell the Farm in Lillard Trade Proposal
After shipping Kemba Walker off to Oklahoma City, the Celtics have a glaring hole at point guard that needs filling. There is speculation that veteran Marcus Smart could be the man to fill the void next season. Or maybe, as Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey floated, Smart could instead serve as a trade chip to yield the Celtics an even more formidable option as their lead guard.
But it appears that he wouldn’t be the only prominent starter Boston would be cutting ties with in order to bring Lillard to Beantown. Here’s how Bailey’s proposal shakes up:
- Boston Celtics Recieve:
- Damian Lillard, G
- Portland Trail Blazers Recieve:
- Jaylen Brown, G/F
- Marcus Smart, G
- 2023 First-Round Pick
- 2025 First-Round Pick
“Lineups with Lillard, Jayson Tatum and Al Horford would have an absurd offensive ceiling. The former two can score on just about anyone, and the latter’s ability to quarterback from the perimeter would keep the lane free of bigs,” wrote Bailey. “Boston would still have the Milwaukee Bucks, Brooklyn Nets and probably 76ers to worry about, but that’s a trio that would instantly be ready to contend for a spot in the Finals.”
Bailey admits breaking up the All-Star duo of Brown and Tatum is an extremely difficult sell. With every team in the league in search of “wings who can hit threes, defend and do a little playmaking,” the Celtics have two of the best already at their disposal, he wrote. To willfully wash their hands of such a dynamic duo would be quite the bold move from exec Brad Stevens, even if it meant getting a six-time All-Star such as Lillard in return.
Brown’s Trade Value
As Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix recently noted, the Celtics aren’t looking to trade Brown. Yet, the fact of the matter is Brown is Boston’s most appealing trade piece, and arguably one of the most appealing trade pieces in the entire league. Coming off a career season where he averaged personal bests in points (24.7), field goal percentage (48.4%), 3-point percentage (39.7%), assists (3.4) and steals (1.2), his four-year, $107 million extension that he signed back in 2019 suddenly looks like a near-bargain.
Boston shouldn’t be looking to move off of Brown, who alongside Tatum gives the Celtics conceivably the best under 25-year-old tandem in basketball. Yet, if Stevens is truly looking to shake things up this offseason, be it for Lillard, Bradley Beal or another superstar, you can bet Brown will be at the forefront of trade discussions.