There is no shortage of stars wearing Golden State Warriors uniforms these days, and another recognizable name could join the Dub City cast as early as next season.
Damian Lillard, the seven-time All-Star guard and leader of the Portland Trail Blazers, will dominate NBA trade discussions this offseason if he so much as nods in his organization’s direction that the time has come to part ways. To this point in his career, Lillard has balked at the idea of jumping ship for another franchise, though he sang something of a different tune during a media session last week.
“That’s what the frustrating part of it is,” Lillard said to the notion of Portland rebuilding in 2023-24, per NBA Central. “Us ‘building,’ that’s not what I’m here to do, especially at this stage of my career.”
If Lillard is interested in a trade, the Warriors would almost certainly be near the top of the list for the Oakland native. Heavy NBA insider Sean Deveney pitched a proposal that would swap Lillard for a package headlined by Jordan Poole and a first-round pick, and that also includes Jonathan Kuminga and Patrick Baldwin Jr.
“Maybe the Warriors are willing to go all-in on winning now, giving up the notion of having a base of future stars to take over for Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson,” Deveney wrote. “If that’s the case, an offer for Lillard would be a bold move.”
Lillard’s Age, Injury History Should Concern Warriors
Lillard would be an intriguing add to the Warriors’ roster as he would amplify both the team’s biggest strength and its biggest weakness, especially if the hypothetical trade played out as Deveney suggested.
The firm of Curry and Thompson is already the undisputed best shooting backcourt in NBA history. Add Lillard and his nearly 44% career average from downtown to the mix and Golden State figures to be an unstoppable juggernaut of offensive firepower.
However, Lillard would also make the Dubs considerably older, particularly if he was swapped for Poole and a couple of 20 year olds. He would also make the team more injury prone. Protracted absences have proven a serious issue for Curry, Thompson and Draymond Green over the past several years. Lillard has played 10 seasons in the league already and will play next year at the age of 33.
The Trailblazers have sidelined Lillard for the remainder of this season with a calf injury, leaving the guard to watch from the sidelines as his team misses the playoffs in a weak and weary Western Conference.
A transition to Golden State would surely be exciting for Lillard, as well as for Dubs fans and the entire organization. But his age and health would add to the ever-present concern of the clock, which is already ticking loudly in the Bay Area despite the team capturing its fourth NBA title in eight years last season.
Lillard Makes Price Tag For Warriors’ Roster Even Harder to Manage
Adding to that, the acquisition of Lillard wouldn’t just slam the door on any hope of a youth movement in Golden State, it would also complicate the franchise’s already onerous financial realities.
Lillard has more than $215 million remaining on his contract, which includes a player option north of $60 million for the 2026-27 season when Lillard will be 36 years old. The Warriors, meanwhile, are estimated to owe approximately $170 million in luxury tax payments for this season, per Spotrac.
Moving Poole’s four-year, $140 million extension to the Blazers would help offset a nice chunk of Lillard’s incoming costs, but Golden State would still be taking on a lot more money in the long-term. As such, a deal for Lillard may also need to include a decision from the Warriors to move on from either Green or Thompson and finally split up the championship core after a decade-long run of nearly unprecedented winning at the sport’s highest level.