For some NBA players, speaking moments after a gut-wrenching, season-ending defeat can be extremely difficult, and frustrating, however, it’s also a moment in time when a star is genuine, rawer, and brutally honest.
After the Portland Trail Blazers fell to the Denver Nuggets — 126-115 — in Game 6 of their best-of-7 series, Thursday night, All-Star Damian Lillard had a lot to say about his team failing to meet expectations.
Damian Lillard On Losing Against The Nuggets: ‘We’re Just Not Good Enough’
Wedged between aspirations and reality, Lillard seemingly had a moment of clarity during his media availability.
“We didn’t win a championship, so obviously where we are now isn’t good enough,” Lillard said after Thursday’s loss, via Royce Young of ESPN. “I don’t know what a shakeup looks like or what changes will be made or could be made, but obviously as is, it wasn’t good enough. We came up short against a team without their starting point guard and shooting guard (Will Barton and Jamal Murray).
“Obviously, where we are isn’t good enough to win a championship if it’s not good enough to get out of a first-round series with two of their best three of four players not on the floor.”
Kendrick Perkins To Damian Lillard: ‘Time To Take Your Talents Elsewhere’
ESPN Analyst, 2008 Boston Celtics champion Kendrick Perkins was awake, early Friday morning and must have been watching Lillard’s presser. He hopped on Twitter to remind the six-time All-Star of potential alternatives this upcoming offseason.
“Hey, @Dame_Lillard it’s time brother! You have done enough for that organization bro! It’s time for you to take your talents else where! The @Lakers or @Celtics would be a great fit for you,” Perkins tweeted. “Carry on… IMOP”
The Celtics, an organization currently in flux as Brad Stevens eases into his new position as president of basketball operations, are in the midst of finding a new head coach. But after Boston hires a new coach, the Celtics are going to need to make some serious decisions with its roster.
Damian Lillard to The Celtics?
For starters, the decision on whether to bring Evan Fournier, an unrestricted free agent, back or not will influence the rest of the Celtics’ offseason moves. Moving Kemba Walker should also be a priority.
However, his diminished value in the open market, along with his injury-plagued 2020-21 campaign, makes trading Walker a significant hurdle. Kemba’s season got off to a slow start and came to an abrupt finish just before a crucial Game 4 matchup against the Brooklyn Nets, where the Celtics had a chance to even the series, 2-2.
Walker also has two years, worth $36 million, and $37.6 million, respectfully, left on his current four-year deal. That’s a tough sell, especially for an undersized 31-year-old guard.
One way the Celtics could pull off trading Walker is pairing him with All-Star Jaylen Brown, which would defeat the purpose of establishing a new ‘Big 3’ in Boston. If the Celtics are all-in on trying their best to pry Lillard away from the Trail Blazers, dangling Jaylen in a deal is the only way Portland would even consider, of course, given Dame takes Perk’s advice and asks for a trade.
But if you’re Stevens, would you even consider it? Maybe.
Finding a way to complement your two Celtics All-Stars is, and should still be the mission at hand when answering the question of what will make Celtics better, and if Boston can’t find a third team to help facilitate this potential blockbuster-swap for Lillard. Then, sorry Celtics fans, Damian shall remain a pipe dream.