Damian Lillard has been loyal to the Portland Trail Blazers throughout his career, but it might finally be time for him to start a new chapter in his career. He has given his best each season, yet the Blazers have failed to accomplish anything great in the postseason.
Despite Lillard's request to bolster the team's roster, the organization hasn't done anything noteworthy. Moreover, in the 2021-22 NBA season, the Blazers' flaws are being pointed out. With Lillard not in his best form, the rest of the team is suffering as well. As a result, the team is currently 3-3 in the first 6 games.
So is it finally time for Dame and the Blazers to part ways? Well, it might be true. The New Orleans Pelicans might be a good destination for the 31-year-old. As per a trade suggested by Zach Buckley of Bleacher Report, here is a breakdown of what the two teams might have to agree upon for this trade to work.
New Orleans Pelicans receive: Damian Lillard, Robert Covington, and Tony Snell
Portland Trail Blazers receive: Brandon Ingram, Devonte' Graham, Jaxson Hayes, Kira Lewis Jr., 2024 first-round pick (via LAL), and 2025 first-round pick (via Mil)
New Orleans Pelicans Pair Zion Williamson With Damian Lillard
Although the Pelicans have great young stars and a bunch of draft picks sitting in their inventory, they still need a superstar to help them make a deep playoff run. Damian Lillard could be the perfect player to partner up with Zion Williamson. Zion, who is just starting his career in the league, is already expected to become one of the best players of this generation.
But when it comes to winning championships, he won't be able to do it alone. Moreover, the experiment of pairing him up with Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram is already in shambles. With Ball being traded to the Bulls, and the Ingram-Williamson duo not working out well.
Since then, the Pelicans are currently just 1-6 so far this season. Buckley talked about why the Pelicans would love this trade in his article on BR. He penned:
"But a trip to the Big Easy would immediately team Lillard with the best co-star he's ever had in Zion Williamson, who isn't even 100 games into his NBA career and already looks unguardable... The Pels' firepower alone could get them in the championship hunt sooner than later, and this exchange wouldn't force them to empty their roster or even dip too deep into their draft pick collection. That means they'd have a solid supporting cast as soon as Lillard arrived and the trade chips to significantly upgrade it."
There is still a long way to go before we reach the NBA playoffs and if the Pelicans commit to this potential trade, they might be able to save it in the early stages. On paper, the duo of Zion and Lillard sounds simply insane. After all, which team will say no to pairing up two of the current best players in the league?
Portland Trail Blazers Get Brandon Ingram To Avoid Rebuilding Right Now
If the Blazers go on with this trade scenario, they will get a young star in Brandon Ingram. Ingram has already proved his worth since arriving in NOLA. He has insane scoring prowess and is already an All-Star as well. Ingram will help the Blazers not go into a rebuild instantaneously.
If anything, BI and CJ McCollum might help the Blazers stay competitive for a while. This will be the best-case scenario for the organization if they finally give up on their efforts to win an NBA Championship, with Lillard being the centerpiece.
Apart from Ingram, Buckley explained the role of other players included in this imaginary trade package. Buckley wrote:
Devonte' Graham checks similar boxes as a 26-year-old with only two seasons as a regular starter. Jaxson Hayes and Kira Lewis Jr. would be more long-term upside plays, and the two incoming picks—both owed by championship chasers with multiple 30-somethings playing pivotal roles—would give Portland the option to invest them on draft night or through the trade market. While there's no way to get equal value for a player of Lillard's caliber, this would go a long way toward writing the franchise's next chapter."
As Buckley mentioned, there's no way to get a player of Dame's caliber in return, so this might be the most appropriate return for their long-term superstar.
However, at this moment all of this is just a rumor. There is still no official word on whether Dame wants to spend the remaining prime years of his career with the Blazers or he is ready to move on.