Will it still be Dame time in Portland next season? Nobody knows for sure. But as the Portland Trail Blazers are starting a new head coaching search soon after parting ways with Terry Stotts on Friday night, the Blazers could look a lot different next season.
When a new coaching era begins for an NBA organization, sometimes key players find themselves playing elsewhere too. As the league watched the Blazers fall short in the first round of the playoffs for the second time in three seasons, some teams started reportedly checking in on the availability of Portland superstar, Damian Lillard.
According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, "several NBA teams" are "intensely monitoring" what's going on in Portland to see if there could be an opening to phone the Blazers front office for a possible Damian Lillard trade.
To match Charania's report, ESPN's Stephen A. Smith also mentioned this week that multiple teams are calling to check on the availability of Lillard for a possible trade in the offseason as he would be a fantastic addition to any team that's competing for a championship, and ready to make a run as early as next season.
"When Damian Lillard got eliminated last night, several calls have come their way. You got a lot of teams, about six or seven different teams that believe they can get their hands on him -- they think they've got a shot. One of them includes the Knicks. . . Also, the Clippers, the Miami Heat, and who knows what the Lakers may try to do."
With Lillard potentially on the outs in Portland, the usual suspects are lining up for a possible trade it seems. Perhaps, the Philadelphia 76ers could get in on the action when talks start to really heat up.
It wouldn't come as a surprise if Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey called the Blazers' front office to inquire about Lillard. Throughout the 2020-2021 season, Morey searched long and hard for a star ball-handler as he engaged in talks with the Houston Rockets for a possible James Harden trade and the Toronto Raptors for a potential Kyle Lowry deal.
While the Sixers remained in the market for those two stars all the way down to the wire, Morey came up empty-handed both times. It's unclear if the Sixers have interest in Lillard and it probably won't become clear until after their playoff run. Whether they are or aren't, it's certainly something to monitor as the trade market opening approaches once again.