The rumor circulating that the New York Knicks could pursue Portland Trailblazers star point guard Damian Lillard is undoubtedly intriguing. With a significant need at PG, the Knicks will be looking to upgrade the position this off-season with over $60 million available in funds and draft capital to trade away if need be.
However, there’s no guarantee that Lillard will desire a trade, considering he’s been with Portland since 2012, eight years. Nonetheless, the veteran has gotten better over time, averaging 28.8 points, 7.5 assists, and shot .451 from the field this past season. He’s averaging upwards of 35 minutes per game, a number he hasn’t fallen below since his inception into the NBA.
What would it take for New York to acquire Lillard in a potential trade? He recently signed a four-year extension worth 176.2 million. He will make upward of $40 million per season but has no options built into his contract, so the Knicks would have him for four years guaranteed.
Let’s take a look at a past blockbuster trade and the value the Knicks had to part with to acquire Carmelo Anthony.
Taking a look at the trade that brought Carmelo Anthony to New York:
Nuggets traded: Carmelo Anthony, Anthony Carter, Renaldo Blackman, Chauncey Billups and Shelden Williams
Knicks traded: Wilson Chandler, Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton, Timofey Mozgov, a future first-round draft pick, two future second-round draft picks, the right to exchange 2016 first-round draft selections and cash
What would it take to acquire Damian Lillard from the Blazers?
1.) Obi Toppin, Frank Ntilikina (sign and trade or alternative player), Kevin Knox
2.) Two 2021 first-round picks
3.) Two second-round picks
4.) The right to exchange a first-rounder in 2026
Ultimately, the Knicks will have to give away the farm to land Lillard, and they might see that as a bit overzealous considering there are other options on the market they can sign in free agency. It’s entirely possible they pursue Chris Paul, Kendrick Nunn, Dennis Schroder, or Lonzo Ball alternatively. However, Lillard is a bonafide star with years left of elite play. He would immediately make the Knicks a playoff-contending team, or at least allow them to push further with Julius Randle already on the roster.
Giving up the 8th overall pick from last year in Obi Toppin would not be ideal, but his future is undetermined, and you can’t put a price tag on elite point guards in trade negotiations.
The idea of exchanging a future first-rounder in 2026 matches up with what the Knicks did in the Anthony trade, just to sweeten the deal.
How would you feel about this trade scenario? Let me know in the comments and what you’d be willing to give up!