Nets’ Offer for Blazers’ Damian Lillard ‘Probably Centers’ Around Vets: Report

Mikal Bridges, Brooklyn Nets

Getty Mikal Bridges #1 of the Brooklyn Nets.

Can the Brooklyn Nets acquire Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard on their terms?

We learned the Nets have “genuine interest” in acquiring the seven-time All-Star from Brian Lewis of the New York Post.

But they are also said to have no interest in dealing Mikal Bridges for him or a package of Anfernee Simons or Shaedon Sharpe and the No. 3 overall pick, for that matter, per Alex Schiffer of The Athletic. So where does that leave things?

“A Brooklyn deal probably centers around the expiring deals of Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris,” states a report from Zach Harper and Shams Charania of The Athletic from June 9. “That’s before hoping to pry as many of those future first-round picks Brooklyn has…Either way, such offers might not inspire a promising rebuild for Blazers fans.”

Nets get:

– Damian Lillard

Blazers get:

– Spencer Dinwiddie
– Joe Harris
– 1st Rd Picks

To the article’s point, the Nets’ do not control their first-round picks until the 2028 season.

They can only trade from a plethora of picks from the Dallas Mavericks, Philadelphia 76ers, and Phoenix Suns, all of whom should still be competitive by the time those picks convey.

Lillard, 32, averaged career highs of 32.2 points on 64.5% true shooting this past season and would be teaming up with his friend, Bridges. But he won’t come cheap, owed over $200 million over the next four seasons.

The Nets might jump for joy if this were all it took to land Lillard.

Portland Focused on Building Around Damian Lillard

Dinwiddie, 30, ranked second in the NBA averaging 10.9 assists from March 10 on but is still likely best-suited as a complementary ball handler than the primary facilitator. He is also extension-eligible heading into the final season of a three-year, $54 million contract he signed when he was sign-and-traded by the Nets to the Washington Wizards in 2021.

Washington later traded him to Dallas for Kristaps Porzingis in 2022.

Harris, 31, shot over 40% from deep for the sixth consecutive season, though his efficiency has dropped two years in a row heading into the last year of his four-year, $75 million contract.

Both Dinwiddie and Harris are surely more appealing to a team trying to contend than one that would be full-steam ahead on a rebuild like Portland would be if they did in fact deal away Lillard who has not requested a trade and said he expects to be a Blazer come next season.

“There is not a team in the league that checks the boxes of a) being a place Lillard would want to go, b) having enough to trade that [Blazers general manager] Joe Cronin could feel OK about making a deal without getting fleeced, and c) having enough talent left over to still be a contender,” wrote Sean Highkin of The Rose Garden Report on June 10.

Cronin has insisted that his goal remains moving the No. 3 overall pick and one of the two aforementioned non-Lillard guards to help improve the team.

Nets general manager Sean Marks also pumped the brakes on a blockbuster trade.

Sean Marks Pushed ‘Continuity’ in Exit Interview

“Continuity is big. It’s something that’s not lost on us, for sure,” Marks said during his exit interview on April 23. “I don’t think we’re in any hurry. We’re not going to be pushed to make changes just for the sake of making changes.”

Four of their five starters from the end of the season are under contract and the fifth, Cameron Johnson, is a restricted free agent and has already been identified as a priority by Marks. Brooklyn is $15.6 million below the luxury tax, per Spotrac, pending a deal for Johnson and it is questionable if they would be a title contender even with Lillard.

This deal would add more than $7 million in salary next season alone.