Report: Knicks have called Blazers to gauge interest in Damian Lillard trade

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Apr 28, 2021; Memphis, Tennessee, USA; Portland Trailblazers guard Damian Lillard (0) dribbles in the second half against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedExForum. Portland won 130-109. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

As New York Knicks point guard Derrick Rose stated after being knocked out of the postseason by the Atlanta Hawks, the front office has “big plans” ahead during this upcoming free agency.

Rose indicated that he would love to stay in New York and play with the Knicks for the foreseeable future, and while that is a possibility, the organization has its eyes on a bigger prize, Damian Lillard.

The Portland Trailblazers star point guard has dominated this postseason, despite his team being knocked out against the Denver Nuggets this week. During the regular season, he averaged 28.8 points, 7.5 assists, and shot .451 from the field over 35.8 minutes per game. At 30 years old, Lillard has earned four consecutive All-Star appearances and is coined as one of the best point guards in the game currently.

Luckily, he could be on the move as he desires a bigger stage to make a serious run at a championship.

Said ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith on Friday:

“Several calls have come (the Blazers’) way. You got a lot of teams — about six or seven different teams — who believe they can get their hands on him, they think they’ve got a shot. One of them includes the Knicks, who are scheduled to have about $75 million in cap space along with some picks. But also, the Clippers, the Miami Heat. And who knows what the Lakers may try to do. Stay tuned.”

Portland has started to field calls regarding Lillard and his future, as there were rumors bubbling that he was disgruntled based on the team’s lack of proficiency during the off-season to help bolster the team. They lost in five games to Denver, and the Knicks already have a few stellar pieces to work off of, including Julius Randle, RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, and Obi Toppin.

With the Knicks having plenty of salary space to work with this off-season and first-round picks to trade in a potential deal, they have all the ammo necessary to acquire Lillard. He recently signed a massive four-year, $176.2 million deal, so the Knicks would have to consume that massive contract, but they have the money to do so. President Leon Rose will still have a bit of cash to maneuver in FA and sign a few complementary pieces, but Lillard is clearly the big fish.