KEY POINTS

  • Damian Lillard wants a consistent playoff run with a contender team
  • The Blazers' hiring of Chauncey Billups as head coach has caused the debacle
  • A trade is highly unlikely, but there are options

With reports that the Portland Trailblazers and Damian Lillard are on the verge of a falling out, the rumor mill has begun to churn.

The Oakland native has repeatedly stated in the past that he despises all super teams and would want to win the title in Portland.

However, recent developments with regards to the hiring of Chauncey Billups as the head coach and Lillard’s belief that the Blazers are incompetent enough to build around him have further intensified the rumor mill.

Every once in a while, it’s fun to play devil’s advocate.

Let’s take a look at some destinations that would make sense for “Dame Time” and his massive contract.

Philadelphia 76ers

Australian Ben Simmons sparked the Philadelphia 76ers to an NBA pre-season victory over China's Guangzhou Lions on Tuesday from which two spectators supporting Hong Kong freedom were removed from the crowd Australian Ben Simmons sparked the Philadelphia 76ers to an NBA pre-season victory over China's Guangzhou Lions on Tuesday from which two spectators supporting Hong Kong freedom were removed from the crowd Photo: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / ANDY LYONS

Admit it or not, everyone reading saw this coming. The Philadelphia 76xers were heavily favored to beat the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Conference Semi-finals.

However, they collapsed repeatedly when the game was theirs to take and gave up huge leads towards the end of the game.

Ben Simmons’ value plummeted after taking only three shots in seven fourth quarters and a 33.3 percent outing from the free-throw line.

The Sixers may be looking to move Simmons this offseason, and a trade for Lillard might be the next best thing.

Both Simmons and Lillard have massive contracts, and Philly will have to include pot sweeteners Tyrese Maxey and multiple first-round picks, most probably their 2021, 2022, and 2024 picks.

A move to the East and playing with Embiid would most certainly help Lillard compete for a title every year.

New York Knicks

Mitchell Robinson #23 of the New York Knicks Mitchell Robinson #23 of the New York Knicks Photo: Getty Images | Michael Reaves

With how the New York Knicks played in the postseason, they’ll definitely want to improve their roster moving forward.

Julius Randle has blossomed into a superstar, and thanks to the Knicks’ massive cap space, expect them to be one of the noisiest teams in the offseason.

In exchange for Lillard, the Knicks will have to give up young talent in RJ Barrett, Immanuel Quickley, and shot-blocking big man Mitchell Robinson plus around two to three first-rounders.

Barrett’s had a solid sophomore outing, Quickley has potential as a point guard, and Robinson’s a great rim runner so if they had to lose Lillard, this might be the best offer yet.

New Orleans Pelicans

Zion Williamson Ja Morant Zion Williamson #1 of the New Orleans Pelicans and Ja Morant #12 of the Memphis Grizzlies stand on the court during a NBA game at Smoothie King Center on January 31, 2020 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Photo: Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Members of Zion Williamson’s family reportedly want “him on another team,” but if they could get a superstar to pair him with, then maybe they can convince him to stay.

Lillard and Robert Covington will most likely be what the Pelicans want, and the Blazers will want Brandon Ingram, Eric Bledsoe, and a ton of first-rounders in exchange, probably their 2021, 2022 (via LAL), 2023, and 2025 picks.

Williamson and Lillard will be one heck of a pairing as the latter’s ability to shoot from anywhere will open up opportunities for the big man to attack the paint and be aggressive.

Bledsoe’s trade value doesn’t look appealing after his lone season in New Orleans, but he is a veteran guard that could help Jusuf Nurkic, CJ McCollum, Ingram, and the Blazers remain competitive in the West.

The Lillard saga will most likely continue well after the NBA Playoffs, but that’s just how the NBA works.

A trade out of Portland will definitely be on the mind of Lillard if the Blazers don’t make moves this offseason.

Probably offloading McCollum for another fringe All-Star to entice Lillard to stay, while continuing to build around him would be the best bet right now. But the ball is in the front office’s court.