Wild Trade Proposal Would Land Bulls Damian Lillard

Getty Damian Lillard

With each passing week, it seems more possible the Portland Trail Blazers might be willing to trade their superstar point guard Damian Lillard. Because the Chicago Bulls are in need of a gamechanger at the position, it is only natural to hear talk of Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley exploring a deal for the future Hall-of-Famer.

We don’t know if Portland will part ways with Lillard, but if they do, here is the offer the Bulls could and should make in an effort to pry Dame away from the Blazers. Remember, Lillard’s super-max kicks in next season taking his salary up to $39 million.

  • Bulls get: Damian Lillard
  • Blazers get: Thaddeus Young, Al-Farouq Aminu, Patrick Williams, Coby White, Troy Brown Jr. and the 2026 first-round pick

Is that a lot for the Bulls to surrender? Yes, but would be worth it? You bet. Is there a chance Portland would still decline the offer? Yes, but let’s take a look any way.

Some Have Called a Trade for Lillard Unlikely

NBC Sports’ K.C. Johnson calls a trade for Lillard unlikely for the Bulls, but he cites the star’s loyalty to Portland as one of the snags. However, it has appeared that might not be as strong as it has been in the past. Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Haynes reports the relationship between Lillard and the Blazers is a bit strained.

Still, Johnson wrote:

Even ignoring all of the above, constructing a trade for Lillard is difficult from the Bulls’ perspective. His supermax extension kicks in next season with a starting salary of $39.3 million, meaning the Bulls would need to send out about $32.8 million to acquire him (assuming the deal happens after the league calendar flips and the Bulls are above the salary cap line).

The proposed deal above would get that done. Johnson offers a package similar to the one I’ve constructed as well.

Cobbling that together among players on the current roster without parting with Zach LaVine or Nikola Vučević would be tricky, though if Thad Young and Tomáš Satoranský’s 2021-22 salaries are fully guaranteed, it would be a bit easier. A four-for-one package constructed around Patrick Williams, Coby White, Al-Farouq Aminu and Young or Satoranský, for example, would work financially. The Bulls may also make additions through trades, free agency or re-signings that could eventually be included if the trade is made next season.

So, he’s saying there is a chance.

Why the Blazers Might Be Interested?

As fantastic as Lillard still is on the court, he is 31 years old, and there is only a matter of time before he begins to show a bit of falloff. The Blazers have hit their ceiling with the current core.

If they choose to push reset, perhaps no team in the league has a bigger trade chip. The offer above has some appeal because the Blazers would be acquiring expiring deals from Young and Aminu as well as young, promising players like White and Williams who aren’t making a ton of money. Throw in the future first-rounder and perhaps Portland believes this is the right move for them.

Why the Bulls Might Be Interested?

This seems pretty obvious, but let’s break it down:

The core of Zach LaVine, Lillard and Vucevic could be perhaps the second-best scoring trio in the NBA behind only a healthy version of the Brooklyn Nets’ Big Three.

If they can re-sign Daniel Theis and sign a 3-and-D small forward while re-signing Garrett Temple, and perhaps inking Spencer Dinwiddie as their sixth man, the Bulls would be a legit threat to make some noise in the East. This would be the best team Lillard has played on, and perhaps his best chance to win a ring.


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