In the wake of yesterday’s piece penned by Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports suggesting the Blazers front office wasn’t pulling its weight, Marc Berman of the New York Post hinted the Knicks would be ready to make a move if Damian Lillard became available.
Berman suggested three-to-four first round picks and collection of young players could be enough to secure Lillard, who is signed to the Blazers through the 2024-25 season.
It’s almost a perfect match. The Knicks have a trove of first-round picks, young prospects and a league-high $60 million in cap space to absorb his contact, which is worth $176.3 million over the next four years, according to Spotrac. They also have assistant coach Johnnie Bryant, a fellow Oakland, Calif., product with whom Lillard shares a close bond.
According to one league executive, the Knicks likely would be willing to trade three or four of their first-rounders in a deal for Lillard if that means they can hold onto Barrett and Obi Toppin.
With defensive center Nerlens Noel playing so effectively, it stands to reason that injured center Mitchell Robinson could even be made available as a centerpiece with the first-rounders.
In response to Berman’s comments, Nurkic responded on Twitter, suggesting it would take 10 times as many picks for Lillard to leave the Pacific Northwest.
Lillard, who has spent all nine of his NBA seasons with the Blazers, denied having anything to do with the Haynes story and his previously stated he wanted to finish career as a Blazer.