Damian Lillard is one of the top-2 point guards in the NBA and one of the favorites for the MVP Award this season. He is averaging 29.6 PPG, 4.4 RPG, and 8.0 APG for the Portland Trail Blazers this season who are currently a top-5 seed in the Western Conference. With Lillard leading the way, Portland hopes to reach the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2019.
But they won’t get there, as great as Damian Lillard is. Lillard is one of the greatest players in Trail Blazers history, but he will never win a title without leaving and joining a superteam elsewhere. While this goes against Lillard’s view on the game of basketball, this is the trend in the league and truly the only way to compete for an NBA title.
Lillard has some options to compete for an NBA title, as he approaches 31 years old, and all three franchises have been named NBA champions over the past decade and a half. Here is why Damian Lillard should play for the Miami Heat, Golden State Warriors, or the Los Angeles Lakers.
Trade Package: Andre Iguodala, Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, Kelly Olynyk, Kendrick Nunn, a future first-round pick for Damian Lillard
Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo completed a historical Finals run last year that unfortunately ended with Adebayo's injury in the Finals and eventually a loss to the Los Angeles Lakers. With the core of Butler and Adebayo intact, imagine what would happen if they added superstar point guard Damian Lillard. Lillard is a top-10 player in the world by leading the Trail Blazers to a playoff spot so far, and he has done his best his entire career. But playing in Miami will do him wonders. Butler and Adebayo are already All-NBA Defensive performers, so letting Lillard dominate the offense would boost the current stars' impact tremendously.
Striking a deal for Damian Lillard won't be easy, since Portland consider him completely untouchable, but Lillard can get a trade wish if he demands it. Lillard with Butler and Adebayo under head coach Erick Spoelstra means the Heat are making multiple Finals appearances with Lillard in his prime, and everybody should be afraid including the Brooklyn Nets. Butler and Adebayo are mainly defensive specialists, and allowing Lillard to lead the team in scoring is exactly what Miami needs.
The Heat are currently out of a playoff spot this season and desperately need a third star to help them make the NBA Finals. Lillard has never played with talents such as Jimmy Butler (5-time All-Star) and Bam Adebayo (2020 All-Defensive Team) before. The Heat are an unselfish squad and both stars would welcome Lillard in a heartbeat because just like the superstar point guard, they want to win at all costs.
Golden State Warriors
Trade Package: Andrew Wiggins, James Wiseman, Eric Paschall, 2021 Timberwolves first-round pick (1-3 protected), a future first-round pick for Damian Lillard
Damian Lillard is without a doubt, a top-2 point guard in the NBA. While many give Stephen Curry the title of the NBA's best point guard, Damian Lillard is very close behind. Lillard is averaging 29.6 PPG, 4.4 RPG, and 8.0 APG for the Portland Trail Blazers who are well in a playoff spot this season. Lillard is one of the best scorers in the NBA and one could imagine how the Warriors would look with Lillard, Curry, and Thompson spotting up for threes. This would be just as good as the Warriors lineup with Durant because Lillard’s marksmanship is truly that great.
With Stephen Curry left to fend on his own, the Golden State Warriors are already in a playoff seed. The addition of Lillard and later the return of Klay Thompson creates the best team in the West. Curry is nailing 43.4% from three for his career, Thompson is at 41.9%, and Lillard is at 37.3%. With three guys nailing threes at that efficiency, under the excellent coaching and management of the Warriors organization, Golden State are the favorite for the NBA title.
Lillard’s best chance of winning a title while playing with another scoring guard comes in Golden State, not Portland. CJ McCollum is a fantastic scorer, as he averages 18.7 PPG for his career and 26.7 PPG this season, but he is not on Curry’s level. Curry is a better shooter, a 2-time MVP, and has proven he can be a dominant playoff performer when it matters most.
Los Angeles Lakers
Trade Package: Kyle Kuzma, Montrezl Harrell, Alex Caruso, Talen Horton-Tucker, 2027 first-round pick, two future second-round picks for Damian Lillard
The Los Angeles Lakers are the reigning NBA champions after capturing the title last year in convincing fashion. Much of the championship core is intact, although there have been changes. But most importantly, LeBron James and Anthony Davis are still playing together.
LeBron is aging, and many have doubts about the future of the Lakers when he does retire. After all, the franchise traded away all of its young assets to acquire Anthony Davis with the hopes of short-circuiting the process to an NBA title. As a result, they must go all-in right now and acquire a superstar like Damian Lillard as soon as possible. But the only way for that to happen is if Lillard requests a trade to Los Angeles so that the Trail Blazers can prepare to accept a massive offer from the Lakers.
Make no mistake, LeBron James is the best player in the world even at 36 years old. James is averaging 25.8 PPG, 8.2 RPG, and 8.1 APG in his 18th season and it is very possible that he remains at this elite level for another 2 years. Anthony Davis is only turning 28 years old this season and has at least 5 or 6 years at an elite level. With Lillard coming in at 31 years old, the Lakers are primed for title contention during and after LeBron’s reign in Los Angeles. A Big Three of James, Davis, and Lillard is better than the Nets and even the post-LeBron duo with Davis is a dominant one. Lillard needs to accept that he needs a superteam to win an NBA title, and by playing with The King, he can become an NBA champion and solidify his legacy as one of the game’s all-time greatest point guards.