How badly does Portland Trail Blazers superstar Damian Lillard want Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Jason Kidd to be his head coach, and should the Boston Celtics make a significant push to hire Kidd because of it?
It’s still too early to say. Celtics president of basketball operations Brad Stevens will be mulling over this decision — as he should — for quite a while.
Damian Lillard: ‘Jason Kidd Is The Guy I Want’
However, one thing we do know for sure is that Lillard already has the Basketball Hall of Fame point guard at the top of his head coaching wish-list.
“Jason Kidd is the guy I want,” Lillard told Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes after the Trail Blazers and Terry Stotts parted ways following Game 6’s season-ending loss to Denver Nuggets. For Lillard, losing to a depleted Nuggets team was significantly disappointing.
“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,” Lillard said after Thursday’s loss, per ESPN’s Royce Young. “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.”
Lillard, who is currently signed through the 2024-25 season, would not only complement the Celtics’ All-Star tandem in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, it would lift Boston into instant title-contenders. The star-studded trio could give the dominating Brooklyn Nets a run for their money in the Eastern Conference.
This is ideal for the Celtics. Adding 30-year-old Damian, who’s locked under contract for the next three to four years just as All-Stars Tatum and Brown are approaching their prime years, fits the Celtics’ timeline while Brooklyn’s star trio — Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving — will be pushing toward their mid-30s.
How Could Celtics Trade for Damian Lillard?
Realistically, a trade request from Lillard is the only way trade talks would ever begin between the Celtics and Trail Blazers. However, the Celtics would be hard-pressed in topping all offers without one of their All-Stars headlining the deal for Portland.
And if Stevens were to seriously consider moving either Tatum or Brown, this offseason, then Lillard could be in play for Boston. Jaylen, who will earn $26.8 million throughout 2021-22, as his contract extension is set to kick in this fall, would help match Lillard’s contract, however, Boston will need to add someone like Tristan Thompson, who’s slated to make $9.7 million next season.
From there, Boston would have to give the Trail Blazers most likely two to three players from a group that consists of Aaron Nesmith, Grant Williams, Romeo Langford, and Payton Pritchard.
Coming off one of his better regular-season performances, Lillard averaged 28.8 points, 7.5 assists, and 4.2 rebounds for the Trail Blazers throughout 2020-21.