The Portland Trail Blazers will soon be getting phone calls about Damian Lillard’s trade availability, despite the all-time franchise leading scorer’s desire to stay home.
Among the teams that could be interested in Lillard is the Utah Jazz, a team chock full of assets to acquire Lillard.
The Athletic’s Tony Jones spoke on ESPN 700 about whether the Jazz would enter the Lillard sweepstakes should he be available.
“That is a layered question. I’ve had some discussions about this and I think that the Jazz would absolutely consider it,” The Athletic’s Tony Jones said in an appearance on ESPN 700’s The Bill Riley Show. “Lillard is going to be 33 this summer. So there is risk involved in that he is not the same age as Utah’s [championship] timeline. Utah’s timeline right now is 22 to 26 [years old] and Lilard is 33. Then when Lillard is either 36 or 37 years old, he’s going to be making $60 million, so the contract has a chance to get really ugly.”
“He’s still in his prime. I thought he maybe had the best season of his career this year. Under the radar, I thought he had a first-team All-NBA-type season. He’s definitely a star. I will tell you this: the Jazz look at next year’s draft class as very weak. They don’t see a reason to be bad enough to keep the draft pick. So I do think that they’re going to make a real effort to improve significantly over the next year. So for that reason, I do think they would consider Lillard.”
It’s hard to imagine Lillard wanting out, but if he changed his mind, the Jazz might be a team he would be interested in going to. He spent his college career at Weber State, less than 45 minutes away from the Jazz’s arena, so there would be a homecoming of sorts should he be traded to Utah.
On top of that, there would be interest from the Blazers to trade him to the Jazz considering Utah’s full cupboard of draft picks the team acquired in the Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert trades last summer.
The Blazers could ask for a king’s ransom and the Jazz might have enough to afford it.