The free-agent market will be flush with point guards to target for the New York Knicks, but the idea of trading for Damian Lillard is quickly becoming more of a possibility. Lillard recently signed a four-year, $176 million extension with a player option for the 2024-25 season. However, he is guaranteed for at least three more years with his future team, whether it be the Portland Trailblazers or moving on to an alternative club.
While Lillard has always been loyal to Portland, reports have indicated his frustration is boiling over with the prolonged head-coaching search the team is currently carrying out. Portland is actively in negotiations with Los Angeles Clippers assistant coach Chauncey Billups to become their next head coach, a move the fans believe Lillard had something to do with.
The enormous backlash from theÂ Portland Trail Blazers’ process to hire a new coach and his concerns on whether a championship contender can be built have become factors that may push the franchise player â€”Â Damian LillardÂ â€” out the door, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Lillard even commented on social media stating that he listed a few coaches he preferred, but news that Billups had a sexual assault allegation back in 1997 passed him by.
Really? I was asked what coaches I like of the names I “heard” and I named them. Sorry I wasn’t aware of their history I didn’t read the news when I was 7/8yrs old. I don’t support Those things … but if this the route y’all wana come at me… say less https://t.co/N1GPkX3Ohd
— Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) June 26, 2021
If the coaching search ends up becoming too frustrating, it is possible Lillard forces his way out of Portland, which would open up the door for a team like the Knicks, who desperately want to pair a star PG with Julius Randle.
Lillard finished this past season averaging 28.8 points, 7.5 assists, and shot .451 from the field. He also connected on nearly 40% of his three-point attempts, averaging 10.5 tries per game. Having played 67 games last year, Lillard has been traditionally healthy throughout his career, which is exactly what the Knicks are looking for in a PG, and four consecutive All-Star appearances doesnâ€™t hurt either.
Damian is currently 30 years old and will be 34 by the end of his extension. He is preparing to earn about $40 million next season, which would leave the Knicks with $10+ million to spend in free agency to acquire complementary pieces.
However, the Knicks would have to part with significant draft capital and young talent to acquire Lillard. New York must be willing to part ways with three first-round picks and multiple youngsters, including Immanuel Quickley or RJ Barrett. Otherwise, they should stick with our guns and simply utilize their available funds to bolster the team this off-season.
‘IF’ Lillard became available, do you think the Knicks should trade for him? Comment below!