The Portland Trail Blazers were among the busiest teams of NBA free agency. By the 3 pm deadline, much of the team's core was dismantled with a focus on rebuilding around Damian Lillard in the summer.
Still, much skepticism remains about Dame's willingness to see this mini-rebuild through, and the Knicks (as usual) find themselves a part of the conversation.
As a team that has coveted Lillard for years, Marc Berman of the New York Post recently laid out where they stand in potentially bringing him to town. While no move is imminent at this time, there is a path that could increase their chances of landing the multiple-time All-Star.
“If they’re going to be in the hunt for Lillard, they’d have to have a good lottery pick this year,’’ one NBA executive said. “Because they’d have to give up RJ Barrett. I don’t see how they get him otherwise.’’
One NBA source said the Knicks’ best chance of attracting Lillard’s interest would’ve been signing swingman DeMar DeRozan in the offseason instead of Fournier.
Putting aside the chaotic state of the Knicks right now, there is a certain level of prestige that comes with donning the Orange and Blue. Playing for New York City, in the world's greatest basketball arena, could be something that appeals to Lillard, who has been in Portland for his entire 9-year career.
Unfortunately for hopeful New Yorkers, Dame himself doesn't seem too keen on leaving his current situation right now.
“For me, my heart is Portland Trail Blazer. I want to win it. I know that I have a plan that’s going to put me on my best level when I come back to play. And I want our team to fit that.”
Since taking over as President in March of 2020, Leon Rose has done an admirable job leading the Knicks to prosperity. While the team has yet to advance in the playoffs, a positive culture continues to develop and, for the first time in years, it seems that the organization has become a place that free agents might be attracted to.
The only thing holding them back from being truly relevant is an A-list star. Whether it's Dame or some other talented player, it's only a matter of time before the Knicks finally get their franchise guy.