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Rumor: Knicks favored to land Damian Lillard *if* Trail Blazers trade him

Damian Lillard in Trail Blazers-Knicks

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 6: Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers plays defense during the game against the New York Knicks on February 6, 2021 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

Damian Lillard – despite the rumors swirling around him – will probably stay with the Trail Blazers.

But if not…

Marc Stein:

Great anticipation surrounds the New York Knicks’ offseason, given the considerable cap space they possess, but the Knicks continue to be cited in league circles as perhaps the most likely destination for Portland’s Damian Lillard if — stress if — there is a change of plans in the Pacific Northwest and the Trail Blazers make Lillard available via trade earlier than expected.

Lillard would be the transformational star the Knicks have been thirsting for. He’s an excellent player and leader

But the Knicks were actually good this year.

Will they prioritize their immediate competitiveness this offseason? Or will they retain assets and flexibility for a Lillard trade?

New York could face difficult decisions. Even a chance at Lillard is worth some trouble, but taking a step back just to strike out on him would obviously be far from ideal.

Maybe the Knicks’ new front office will gather better intel than the previous regime.