Damian Lillard, All-Everything guard for the Portland Trail Blazers, just posted one of the best seasons of his nine-year NBA career. In 67 appearances he averaged 28.8 points, 7.5 assists, and 4.2 rebounds per game, shooting 45% from the floor and 39% from the arc, leading his team to a 6th seed in the 2021 NBA Playoffs. During that playoffs run, he posted a near-inconceivable 34.3 points and 10.2 assists while shooting 46% overall and 45% from distance.
Though short, only six games, it was the most sparkly post-season run in franchise history. It was highlighted by Lillard’s Game 5 performance in which he scored 55, trying to save his team from falling to the Denver Nuggets. Ultimately Portland lost in double-overtime, but the NBA world was captivated by the individual performance.
Lillard’s Christmas-level star power, combined with Portland’s lack of team success, has created a crucible at the start of the Summer of 2021. Opposing teams—perhaps GM’s, but certainly fan bases—are concocting all kinds of crazy trades to pry a potentially-disgruntled (and certainly aging) Lillard from Portland’s hands. We won’t dignify them by posting details. Suffice it to say that no, there aren’t enough first-round picks in the world, Boston. And Golden State, Draymond Green is no good to Portland if Lillard isn’t playing WITH him. Sheesh.
But...and here’s the kicker...even Portland supporters are starting to whisper in dark corners about possibly dealing the 31-year-old superstar, likely figuring that Portland can’t rebuild quickly enough around him to parlay his talent into a championship. If he’s likely to leave anyway—either at the end of his contract in 2024 or via a trade demand before then—wouldn’t it make sense to get max value for him?
As the summer begins, let’s open the question to you. Damian Lillard is the single most untouchable player the Blazers have had since Clyde Drexler roamed the Memorial Coliseum hardwood. Is he still completely off limits for trades, though? To me, personally, he is, but what’s your take and why? Share in the comments below!