Various rumors have linked the Los Angeles Lakers to disgruntled Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard this offseason, but with a lack of assets, the team will have to get very creative to land the six-time All-Star.
One potential — and very unlikely — scenario to execute a trade for Lillard would be dealing Anthony Davis to Portland in exchange. It is a move ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith has petitioned the Lakers to follow through on.
“I would even consider trading Anthony Davis from the Los Angeles Lakers to get Damian Lillard with LeBron James. Because this season, Anthony Davis missed more games, or just as many games, as Damian Lillard missed his entire career,” Smith said. “I would actually consider that if I were Portland, and if I were the Los Angeles Lakers.”
Smith didn’t back don’t after getting some backlash, even posting it on his social media with the caption: “I have been on the record and stated this publicly. I would even consider trading ANTHONY DAVIS to get Damian Lillard.”
Davis Makes More Sense Than Lillard for Lakers
While Davis missed some time last season with various lower body issues — which included calf, Achillies, groin and knee injuries — he’s still one of the best players in the world when he’s at 100% and plays great next to LeBron James. Despite the injuries, Davis averaged 21.8 points and 7.9 rebounds last season and was named an All-Star. His impact might have been felt most when he was not on the floor, with the Lakers crumbling after he went down with a groin injury against the Suns in the first round of the playoffs.
Lillard is one of the best scorers in the NBA, averaging 28.8 points per game last season and draining unthinkable shots and executing in the clutch. While his shooting and star-power would be welcomed in LA, the Lakers would have a hard time replicating Davis’ contributions, specifically on defense. With the Lakers hanging their hat on defense under Frank Vogel, Davis simply makes more sense as a star-partner for James.
Lillard Disputes Trade Request Rumors
Rumors have been swirling about Lillard’s future in Portland since his squad was unceremoniously bounced from the postseason in the first round by a shorthanded Nuggets team. The team then fired head coach Terry Stotts and the search for his replacement put Lillard in a tough spot.
Earlier this month TrueHoop reported Lillard would ask for a trade in the near future, something the star guard disputed.
“Right now I’m not sure what I’m going to do. What I can say is my intentions and my heart has always been set on being in a Trail Blazers uniform for my entire career,” Lillard said per Brian Windhorst of ESPN. “But I think over time, you want to win it all. And I want to win it all in a Trail Blazers uniform. But we all have to be making strides toward that.”
Lillard did break down what he wants to see from the franchise going forward as they look to go from good to great.
“The best way to put it is to be more urgent about what our next step is and how we move forward,” Lillard said. “We’re not a bad team; we’re a winning team. We’ve got a great environment, we’ve got a great city, we’ve got great fans, there’s a lot of positives.
“I just think we’ve reached that point where it’s like, OK, it’s not enough. Do we actually want to win it all? Is that what we’re shooting for? We’ve got to do things to show that. We’ve got to put action behind that. That desire to win at that level — that’s been my only thing this entire time.”
The Knicks, 76ers, Warriors and Heat are the favorites to land Lillard if he’s traded, per BetOnline. The Lakers are tied with the Clippers at +750 to wrangle his services through a trade.