Celtics Trade Could Put Damian Lillard in Championship Contention: Analyst

Damian Lillard, Boston Celtics

Getty Damian Lillard, Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics are among a host of teams being floated as a potential landing spot for Damian Lillard, despite the All-Star guard clearly stating that he wants to play with the Miami Heat.

In a recent episode of The Bill Simmons podcast, Simmons noted how a move to Boston would likely put Lillard in immediate contention for a championship.

“I don’t see a trade, other than the Miami trade, which I don’t think is going to happen, that will propel him to some sort of, ‘oh now he’s on the cusp,’ unless it’s the Celtics,” Simmons said. “Now, Jaylen Brown can sign for this extension in five minutes, and this will be moot, but I just keep circling that trade wondering; it’s starting to make more and more sense to me.”

In order for Boston to acquire Lillard, they would likely need to trade Jaylen Brown, who is widely expected to ink a supermax contract extension in the coming days that would see him become ineligible to be traded for twelve months.

Analyst Floates Lillard Trade Package to Keep Brown

In a July 2 article for MassLive, Brian Robb shared a trade package that could potentially send Lillard to Boston without the Celtics giving up any of their star players – although it would cost them significant depth and draft assets as a result.

The trade looks like this:

Portland Trail Blazers receive Malcolm BrogdonRobert Williams, Payton PritchardLuke Kornet, Salary filler, three future first-round draft picks, additional pick-swaps, or second-round picks.

Boston Celtics receive: Damian Lillard.

While the trade proposal looks good on paper, there’s a realistic chance another team around the NBA puts one of their star players in a deal and leaves Boston’s offer languishing in second place. Furthermore, the Celtics may be reluctant to trade for a player who clearly has his heart set on heading to South Beach this summer.

Celtics Add Dalano Banton in Free Agency

While everybody’s focus is on Damian Lillard, the Celtics made a move to add a backup guard to their roster on July 3, securing former Toronto Raptors guard Dalano Banton on a two-year deal.

“Free agent point guard Dalano Banton has agreed to a two-year contract with the Boston Celtics, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadum. Agent Aaron Turner of @VerusTeam negotiated the deal,” Charania reported.

Banton, 23, has played in 95 regular-season games since entering the NBA as a second-round draft pick in 2021, averaging 3.7 points, 1.8 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per contest, shooting 41.6% from the field and 27.5% from deep.

Given his six-foot-nine frame and impressive wingspan, Banton will likely be used in an off-ball role next season, giving Boston another target who can pressure the rim on cuts, and slashes from the wing/slot area of the court. Banton’s addition keeps with Boston’s trend of adding genuine size and length to the roster this summer, with Kristaps Porzingis and Oshae Brissett already part of the roster.

Banton will likely comprise the back-up guard role that we saw Payton Pritchard occupy last season, with Pritchard moving up in the rotation due to Marcus Smart being traded to the Memphis Grizzlies.