If you want Damian Lillard roaming your team’s backcourt next season, it’s going to cost you — extensively. In reality, the majority of NBA teams don’t have anywhere near the type of trade arsenal (both young talent and draft capital) to properly compensate the Portland Trail Blazers in the event of a trade.
With that said, Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz feels as if the Boston Celtics are one of the few teams who have a legitimate shot at making a run at the six-time All-Star. “Few teams have the kind of draft picks and young talent to make a serious run at Lillard, if he eventually asks Portland for a trade. The Celtics are one,” the B/R columnist proclaimed.
One would predict that any deal bringing Lillard to Beantown would ultimately come at the expense of losing budding star Jaylen Brown in the process. Yet, not so fast. Swartz believes he’s mustered up a proposal that would allow the Celtics to have their cake and eat it too — teaming Lillard up with not only Brown but 23-year-old phenom Jayson Tatum as well.
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Celtics’ Blockbuster Damian Lillard Proposal
We won’t go as far as to call it a king’s ransom, as any trade that yields Boston the services of Lillard while also allowing them to retain Brown is a win in our books. However, as you could expect, such an event would likely gut the remaining majority of the Celtics’ roster — including two starters in Kemba Walker and up-and-coming big man Robert Williams.
Here’s the full breakdown of the massive five-player, multi-pick proposal:
- Boston Celtics Receive:
- PG Damian Lillard
- Portland Trail Blazers Receive:
- PG Kemba Walker
- SF Aaron Nesmith
- C Robert Williams III
- G/F Romeo Langford
- 2021 first-round pick
- 2022 first-round pick swap
- 2023 first-round pick (unprotected)
- 2024 first-round pick swap
- 2025 first-round pick (unprotected)
“Putting Lillard together with Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Tristan Thompson and company puts Boston back towards the top of the East, with a squad that can suddenly go toe-to-toe with the Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks,” Swartz wrote.
Teaming up arguably the league’s most vaunted clutch-time scorer in Lillard with a player of Tatum’s offensive prowess gives the Celtics the firepower needed to quickly re-establish themselves as a legitimate threat in the conference.
“Lillard and Tatum have already proven their abilities to deliver in the playoffs, with the two combining to average 64.9 points per game in the first round this season,” Swartz added.
At What Cost?
For all the great things Lillard brings to the table, he does come with potential drawbacks. Committing to Lillard means committing to a player soon to be 31 years of age who is inked to a max deal which increases over each of the next four seasons through 2024-25.
While the move would allow Boston to get out from under Walker’s unappealing contract, they’d also be running the risk of losing Williams in the process. When healthy, the 23-year-old has flashed elite-level upside, looking like a mainstay in the Celtics’ frontcourt for years to come.
Of course, all of this remains hypothetical at the moment. While signs point towards Lillard growing impatient with his current situation in Portland, he has yet to request a trade. As long as that remains the case, the Trail Blazers should have no desire to shop their superstar. Yet, if things ultimately go left over the next few months, Swartz feels Portland should be content with the haul Boston can offer.
“A backcourt of Walker and C.J. McCollum is still extremely lethal, with Nesmith and Williams looking like the future of the small forward and center positions,” Swartz claimed. “Three unprotected first-rounders and a pair of swaps gives the Blazers plenty of trade ammunition moving forward, or rebuilding assets should Portland eventually choose to tear things down.”