A recent report suggested that Damian Lillard could request a trade to get out of Portland.
Later in the day, Lillard denied those reports but still made it clear that things need to change in Portland for him to stay.
So, how could trade to the Lakers happen?
Well, the easiest way would be a straight swap with Anthony Davis, but that’s not what Lakers fans want.
The idea of trading for Damian Lillard is to create a big three alongside LeBron and Davis.
How could the Lakers make this possible without trading Anthony Davis?
The first step would be Lillard publicly requesting a trade and making it clear that Los Angeles is his preferable destination. That would create leverage for both the Lakers and Lillard, as other teams would have clear suggestions that Lillard wants to be a Laker. Portland indeed has the advantage of having Lillard under contract for four more years, but we saw this season how James Harden made his way to Brooklyn in a similar situation. But Lillard won’t be traded to a place he doesn’t want to be traded, and that’s his power.
The Lakers don’t have many draft picks to offer. In fact, the only first-round pick the Lakers could offer is this year’s 22 pick, as the next couple of years were already traded for Anthony Davis. A potential trade package would require at least one sign and trade. It could be surrounding Talen Horton-Tucker or Dennis Schröder, both of whom are free agents this offseason. The difference there is that Horton-Tucker is restricted, and only 20 years old.
In addition to that, the Lakers could move Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and/or Kyle Kuzma. This would also help to balance the salary situation in the trade. Lillard will be earning the supermax contract money. This could become another obstacle in the way for the Lakers, but not their greatest threat.
Los Angeles will have to beat offers of other teams that could likely present better deals for Lillard, being this the biggest reason why a trade between Portland and the Lakers is unlikely.
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