Warriors

Why Warriors are unlikely to land unhappy Dame in trade

Warriors
Steph Curry and Damian Lillard

Damian Lillard has been loyal to the Portland Trail Blazers, but his patience might be running out.

Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes reported Sunday, citing league sources, that the six-time NBA All-Star could force his way out of the Pacific Northwest because he is facing backlash due to the Blazers reportedly choosing LA Clippers assistant Chauncey Billups as their next head coach.

Haynes reported, citing sources, that none of the coaching candidates interviewed by Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey were recommended by Lillard.

Lillard, who turns 31 in July, has spent his entire nine-year NBA career in Portland, but this might be the beginning of the end of Dame Time in Rip City.

After another disappointing NBA playoff exit this season, the Blazers parted ways with head coach Terry Stotts, and appear to have settled on Billups after granting second interviews to San Antonio Spurs assistant Becky Hammon and Brooklyn Nets assistant Mike D'Antoni.

Lillard famously said he would never join a super team, but if he wants out of Portland, he's going to want to go to a contending team that gives him a chance to win his first NBA title.

If the Blazers start to actively shop Lillard, there would be several teams that could take on the remaining four years and $176 million left on his max contract extension.

 

The New York Knicks returned to the postseason this year and are looking for a star to put alongside Julius Randle, and their fan base is clamoring for their next marquee player. The Spurs could have the cap space and might be interested in bringing Lillard to the Lone Star State. The Miami Heat have the young assets that might appeal to the Blazers.

The Clippers could get involved if Kawhi Leonard opts out this summer, and you know the Los Angeles Lakers will try to find a way to enter the conversation. Surely other teams would try to create the cap space to try to acquire a talent like Lillard.

But what about the Warriors? They don't play in Lillard's hometown of Oakland anymore, but would it be possible to bring him back to the Bay Area?

In theory, the Warriors might have the pieces to make a trade work, but it's hard to see the Blazers dealing him to their rival.

In order to match Lillard's massive contract, the Warriors would have to make Andrew Wiggins the base of any deal. The 26-year-old has two years and roughly $65 million left on his deal. According to ESPN's Trade Machine, the numbers work on the Lillard-Wiggins part of the swap.

If the Blazers are trading Lillard, they undoubtedly are shifting into rebuild mode, and the Warriors have two prime assets that could greatly help that process: The No. 7 and No. 14 picks in next month's NBA draft.

The Blazers don't have a first-round draft pick this year after they traded their selection to the Houston Rockets in the deal that brought Robert Covington to Portland last year.

Is Wiggins and the two lottery picks enough for the Blazers to trade their superstar to the Warriors? Probably not. Golden State would really need to sweeten the pot to convince Portland to do this.

Portland likely would ask for 2020 No. 2 overall draft pick James Wiseman to be included into the deal along with Wiggins and the two picks. Is that a bridge too far for the Warriors?

Maybe. Maybe not.

Giving up Wiseman and the two lottery picks would push all the Warriors' eggs into the win-now basket. If the goal is to try to win another NBA championship during the prime years of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green, the move makes perfect sense -- again, if Portland would do it.

But if the goal is to keep the championship window open beyond the playing days of Curry, Thompson and Green, giving up Wiseman and two lottery picks doesn't fit.

RELATED: NBC Sports Bay Area's post-lottery mock draft

It looks like Lillard wants out and if that's the case, teams will start lining up to try to acquire him. Warriors president and general manager Bob Myers and his front office likely would do their due diligence to see if the Blazers would entertain the idea of trading the star point guard to Golden State.

 

On paper, the Warriors have the assets to get a deal done. But in reality, a deal between the two Western Conference rivals seems hard to fathom.

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