Damian Lillard trade rumors: Knicks ‘doing homework’ on Trail Blazers guard

It’s a long, long way from Portland to New York.

Damian Lillard could be on the move this offseason, with recent trade rumors indicating that the superstar Trail Blazers guard may want out.

And should Lillard want out, count the Knicks among the suitors: SNY’s Ian Begley reports that the Knicks have been doing “homework and prep work” on Lillard should the star ask for a trade.

The Knicks, for weeks now — members of the organization have been kind of doing their homework, their prep work, on the possibility of Lillard seeking a trade from Portland. So the Knicks are obviously interested, as are any other team in the NBA that needs a star point guard. That’s not surprising, but we are certainly a ways away from the Knicks and Blazers or the Blazers and any other team having significant conversations about a Lillard trade. But at least the Knicks have done some homework and prep work.  

MORE: Two factors that could push Damian Lillard out the door

Begley also adds that should the stars the Knicks are targeting not become available this offseason, they’ll “slow play” their strategy and wait for the right stars to potentially be available. With ample first-round picks and cap space, the Knicks make a viable landing spot for Lillard.

New York opened eyes in the first season under head coach Tom Thibodeau, but was trounced by the Hawks in five games in the first round of the 2021 NBA playoffs. 

Behind largely poor efforts from Julius Randle and RJ Barrett, trade rumors have swirled about the Knicks potentially acquiring a star player to group with one or both.

Lillard, turning 31 in July, is locked up to big money through the 2024-25 season, limiting potential suitors for his services. Lillard is due 35 percent of the cap as part of his contract extension starting in 2022-23, which projects to be around $40 million annually.

The Trail Blazers did hire Chauncey Billups, who was named by Lillard as a possible preferred coach for Portland after the ousting of Terry Stotts. Billups’ personal history leading to the hire was a focus of Portland fans’ disdain, with Lillard claiming he didn’t know about the rape allegations levied against the new Blazers coach.

In any case, should Lillard actually request a trade, consider the Knicks among the suitors.

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