REPORT: Damian Lillard ‘Would Prefer’ to Stay on West Coast
Damian Lillard has been one of the many NBA players rumored to potentially be on the trade market ahead of the trade deadline next week.
Rumors have swirled about a potential move to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for Ben Simmons in some capacity, but reports indicate Lillard could want to stay closer to home.
According to Chad Ford on his Locked on Podcast show, Lillard is interested in remaining on the west coast, even if he leaves the Portland Trail Blazers.
“I don’t actually think that at least nothing that I’ve heard of, has Damian Lillard insisting that it has to be Philadelphia (76ers) that he goes to,” Ford said. “In fact, everything that I’ve heard is that he would prefer a move to the west coast or to stay on the west coast.”
That bodes well for teams such as the Los Angles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers, who are both trying to make a push for an NBA Championship with the stars currently on their rosters. Both teams may have difficulty trading for him this season due to salary cap concerns but could potentially get involved this offseason.
The Blazers are likely in no rush to move Lillard before this season’s trade deadline. Lillard is in the first year of his four-year $176 million contract extension that sees him tied up with the Trail Blazers until at least 2024. This gives Portland the flexibility to wait for the right trade offer to come in for the superstar point guard.
Another wrinkle in a trade before the deadline is that Lillard is currently not playing for the Blazers following abdominal surgery and will be out indefinitely.
At 31-years-old, the clock is ticking for Lillard on his chances of winning an NBA Championship, and with the Trail Blazers 10 games below .500 this season with a record of 21-31, it may be time for it a move. Even if Lillard opts to move, he will always be a Portland legend, playing 10 years with the Trail Blazers and averaging 24.6 points and 6.6 assists per game over 711 career games.
The NBA trade deadline is in less than a week, coming to a close on Feb. 10.