At this point, where eliminated teams have begun preparing the next steps needed to improve next season, fans love to speculate at trade possibilities. Today, we take a look at Damian Lillard possibly playing for the Mavericks next season.
Dame spent his entire career in Portland. He is 30 years old, still in his peak, but has not been to the NBA Finals. While he insists he remains loyal to the city, reports surfaced about his frustration over the team's direction.
After the Trail Blazers parted ways with coach Terry Stotts, Lillard campaigned for the front office to take a look at Jason Kidd. After he went to Dallas, Portland ended up with Chauncey Billups. It remains to be seen how Billups can speed up the transition of Portland from being an annual postseason team to a Finals contender, but for now, the most obvious way seems to be through trading CJ McCollum.
With the team essentially in reshuffling mode while having limited options, Dame has all the reasons to get frustrated. Every year, management has failed to provide enough support for their star. No one could blame Lillard if, indeed, he has had enough. Superstars like him have earned the right to have something to say on how to improve the team, and should there be no improvement again, maybe it's time for him to look elsewhere.
After the backlash he received due to the support Dame gave to Billups in light of his 1997 rape allegation case, Chris Haynes reported that Lillard was considering asking for a trade from the Blazers for the first time in his career. While his frustration is only partly justifiable, most saw this as a PR move - preparing for the option he actually asks out after investing so much of his reputation in being the loyal guy, the one that doesn't join superteams. One team that hasn't been rumored in connection to Dame is a team that would make a lot more sense than you'd think, particularly after their recent hiring spree.
Dallas picked Kidd as their new head coach; we know Dame has publicly stated he wanted the former New Jersey Nets star as his next mentor. And after they hired Nico Harrison as general manager, Dame gave him a public shoutout as well.
Coincidence? Maybe, or maybe there’s something the Mavs could explore. The Mavs would give anyone except Luka to make it work. There may be better offers out there, but if Dame goes to the Trail Blazers and tells them "Get me to Dallas," it wouldn't be the first time a superstar got to exactly where they wanted to. They may not have the best package, but keep an eye on the Mavericks.
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