Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers are hoping to push their way back into the NBA Playoffs this season, and although Lillard has expressed faith in the roster, there are still some players elsewhere that pique his interest.
Speaking with Arizona Cardinals play-by-play announcer Dave Pasch on The Dave Pasch Podcast this week, Lillard specifically named Mikal Bridges of the Phoenix Suns, OG Anunoby of the Toronto Raptors, and Jarred Vanderbilt of the Minnesota Timberwolves as players he’d like to play with.
If I had to say a player right now that I would want to add to our team, I would say somebody like Mikal Bridges or OG Anunoby or Jarred Vanderbilt. Somebody like that. One of those three. I love those three guys.
It should be noted that this comment does not constitute a trade request for any of those players outright, nor was the question that sparked it designed as a trap. Lillard is giving earnest insight into his preferences for non-star additions to the team. Each of those three have his attention for specific reasons.
They defend, they all have really good size, they can make shots. Jarred Vanderbilt does everything. He guards every position, he rebounds, he’s a playmaker, he’s tough, competitive, good feel for what’s going on out there. And I think the other two are similar. They defend really well, they make shots, they play on winning teams, they tough, they competitive – all of those things. And I feel like that’s what the winning teams are built like now.
Bridges, 26, is entering his first year of a four-year, $90-million contract in Phoenix. He is part of the Suns’ long-term plans and is likely unavailable via trade.
Anunoby, 25, is in the second year of a four-year, $72-million contract in Toronto, and would appear to be heavily on Portland’s radar. Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports previously reported that the Trail Blazers dangled the seventh pick of the 2022 NBA Draft in pursuit of Anunoby this summer.
Vanderbilt, 23, could be the most attainable of the three. In the second year of his three-year, $13-million contract with Minnesota, the young power forward plays a supporting role in a crowded frontcourt.
Listen to Pasch’s full conversation with Lillard here.