NBA Rumors: These 5 Teams “Most Likely” To Pursue Lillard Trade

The buzz around the NBA these days (aside from the impending playoffs) is what's going to happen with Damian Lillard? The Portland Trail Blazers star came out this week in a televised interview seemingly putting some pressure on the team to improve—or else

Could Dame finally be ready to ask for a trade this summer? Folks around the NBA are gearing up for this possibility, according to a report from Sean Deveney of Heavy Sports. He quotes on league executive saying this could be the talk of the summer:

They’re not going to trade him on their own. He is going to have to come to them and say, ‘OK, it is time, let’s move on.' They’re not just going to ship him out to get rid of him. He has shown them loyalty and they’re going to do the same. But more and more, there is a bigger chance he will ask out. He could very well be the focal point of all talk in the next couple months.

The Trail Blazers have made one trip to the Conference Finals in Lillard's 11 seasons, and yet, until now, he has pledged loyalty to Portland.

But if he does ask out, there are five teams noted as "most likely" to pursue the 7-time All-Star, according to NBA executives polled by Deveney:

New York Knicks

This is the most interesting possibility, said one exec. "They have expressed interest in Lillard before but nothing ever came of it. Now, you have the big contract for R.J. Barrett you can deal." 

Brooklyn Nets

They dealt away two superstars earlier this season, so it makes sense that they'd be in the market to bring in another, much less high-maintenance one. The problem here, is that to make the salaries work, they'd have to convince Portland to take on Ben Simmons. Hmm...

Miami Heat

Always in the market to make a bold move, this could one that the Heat focus on this summer. 

Golden State Warriors

Lillard is from The Bay Area, so you never know. As an unnamed exec said, "I don’t think the Blazers want to see Dame stay in the West but he is an Oakland guy and if it is the place he wants to be, both sides could make it happen." 

Los Angeles Clippers

They'd have to pretty much gut their roster, because they don't have the draft picks to include in a deal like this. But it wouldn't be beyond Steve Ballmer to want to swing for another superstar.

Photo: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports