Ex-Celtic Tamps Down Trade-Demand Rumors on NBA Superstar

Enes Kanter Damian Lillard Celtics Blazers

Getty Big man Enes Kanter, then of the Boston Celtics, defends Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard in 2020.

Any time a bona fide superstar becomes the subject of widespread trade chatter, fans of every squad in the NBA will be prompted to dream up ways for said player to join their team. Beantowners are no different, as Damian Lillard’s rumored desire to leave the Portland Trail Blazers currently has folks dreaming of the six-time All-Star in Boston Celtics green.

Unlike many of the Association’s teams, though, the Celtics actually have a legitimate trading chip in Jaylen Brown. So while Boston may not be the favorite to land Lillard if he really is thinking about requesting a trade, the Celtics should certainly be in the conversation.

That said, there’s a chance that the rumors are more smoke than actual fire. For his part, Lillard has denied that a trade request is on the table. He is definitely holding his franchise accountable, but he also fully expects to be a Blazer next season.

More recently, a former Celtics big man who has enjoyed two stints as Lillard’s teammate threw even more cold water on the notion that Dame could force a move to Boston or anywhere else.

The latest Celtics news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Celtics newsletter here!

Join Heavy on Celtics!

Kanter Speaks Out on Lillard’s Rumored Request

On Monday, Blazers center Enes Kanter — who was a Celtic during the pandemic-shortened 2019-20 season — was a guest during the third hour of The Herd with Colin Cowherd. Given his closeness to Lillard as a teammate and friend, it should come as no surprise that Cowherd asked him to weigh in on the trade request talk.

His response didn’t exactly instill hope if you’re a Celtics fan waiting for Dame Time’s arrival.

“I don’t think so,” he said of the possibility that Lillard may be ready to chase an NBA championship elsewhere. “I played with Damian two years ago, and I played with him this year. Like I said, again, I said this many interviews, he is the most loyal player I have ever seen in the league.”

According to Kanter, Lillard doesn’t just want to win a title, he wants to win it for Portland, a city, team and fanbase he has developed a great affection for.

“I don’t think—I talk to many people and every time I go to a basketball camp, kids are always asking if Dame is going to leave. I don’t think so,” he said. “I think Dame loves the Blazers and the Portland fans so much and he obviously wants a championship team. But one thing, he wants to bring a championship to Portland. That’s what people don’t understand. He wants to win a championship like every other player, yes, but he wants to do it all in Portland.”

Kanter concluded by backing Lillard’s claims that the notion of a trade request didn’t come from him.

“So I don’t think he is going to leave, I don’t think all the trade rumors—he even said it himself, he woke up to all these trade rumors and it’s not true. I don’t think it’s true.”

Betting Odds Don’t Favor Celtics in Lillard Pursuit

If Lillard does, in fact, end up on the trade block, the Celtics may face long odds in their pursuit of the superstar. At the least, they’re far from the favorite to land him according to the latest betting odds.

As relayed by ClutchPoints, BetOnline.ag’s latest odds on Lillard’s next team in the event that he’s traded have Boston at +1200 to win. That mark is tied with the Toronto Raptors for the eighth-best odds to get Lillard.

The New York Knicks are the current betting favorite at +160, followed by the Philadelphia 76ers — who can offer up former No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons in a trade — at +225.


Read More
Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments