NBA Insider Shuts Down Talk Linking Celtics to Damian Lillard

Damian Lillard is a rumored target for the Boston Celtics

Getty Damian Lillard is a rumored target for the Boston Celtics

Since their exit from the NBA playoffs, the Boston Celtics have found themselves floated in multiple trade rumors.

One of the more prominent discussions has been surrounding a potential Jaylen Brown trade, with Damian Lillard heading to Boston as part of the deal. However, when speaking on a June 8 episode of the Dan Patrick Show, NBA Insider Chris Haynes shut down those rumors, noting how Lillard ‘doesn’t want Boston.’

“If think if he is traded, it’ll be in the Eastern Conference,” Haynes said. “He’s not doing Boston…I think that’s pretty safe to say.”

The Celtics fanbase has been vocal in their desire for the team to add a ‘true point guard’ over recent years, and many see Lillard as the ideal player to pair with Jayson Tatum. However, there are some concerns with the potential fit between the two stars, as both require the ball in their hands to be at their best.

Lillard Lists Miami & Brooklyn as Destinations

During a recent appearance on “The Last Stand” with Brian Custer, Lillard listed the Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets as his two most likely destinations should he part ways with the Portland Trail Blazers.

“Miami, obviously,” Lillard said. “Miami is the obvious one, and Bam [Adebayo] is my dog. Bam is my dog, for real…Brooklyn is another obvious one because Mikal Bridges is my dog too. Both have capable rosters.”

Lillard has been with the Trail Blazers for his entire career and would likely only request a trade if he didn’t believe he had a realistic chance of contending for a championship with the team.
However, it’s worth noting how any team that trades for Lillard would be giving up considerable assets to acquire him, which means there’s no guarantee of contending elsewhere in the short term, either.

Celtics Could Target Lauri Markkanen via Trade

Assuming that Lillard is not a realistic trade option for the Boston Celtics, The Athletic’s Jared Weiss believes that Utah Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen could be another realistic target in a Jaylen Brown trade.

“If they were to trade Brown, Utah has a star in Markkanen that fits Boston’s timeline and needs, plus plenty of role players and picks to throw in,” Weiss wrote. “Markkanen was performing on a similar level to Brown this year, but he was the primary option on a less competitive team, and this was his first season at this level…Of all the potential stars Boston could bring in for Brown, Markkanen is high up the list.”

Markkanen is coming off his best season in the NBA so far, earning himself his first All-Star selection as a result. Having played in 66 regular-season games for Will Hardy’s team, Markkanen ended the season with a statline of 25.6 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game on 49.9% from the field and 39.1% from three-point range.

However, both Markkanen and Tatum play similar roles in similar positions, so the Celtics could find themselves facing issues surrounding how the two All-Stars fit together on the court – an issue that has consistently been a talking point regarding Brown and Tatum’s partnership.