It’s only been four days since Damian Lillard’s Portland Trail Blazers were bounced in the first round of the playoffs, but trade buzz surrounding the superstar has been circulating nonstop.
Though Lillard has not formally requested a trade, and the Blazers have shown no indication of listening to offers from other teams, betting odds have already been released for trade destinations should Lillard be dealt.
According to SportsBetting.ag (H/T Ryan Ward), the LA Clippers are +275 to acquire Lillard, trailing only the New York Knicks, who sit at +250. The Clippers are favored over the Heat, Lakers, 76ers and Celtics, despite having few draft assets to send to Portland in return. This lack of picks means that if LA were to trade for Lillard, it would likely have to involve Paul George. After this season, he and Lillard will be under identical contracts (four years, $176 million) that run through the 2024-25 season.
The Clippers’ own postseason outcome will likely play a role in whether they will pursue Lillard. The fact that they overcame the Dallas Mavericks in seven games and avoided another embarrassing postseason upset should factor into the LA’s front office decision, but so much is still in the air. If LA makes a deep postseason run, reaching their first NBA Finals in franchise history or even potentially winning it all, there would be no reason to deal George and break up their core. However, if LA flames out in uncompetitive fashion against the Jazz in the Conference Semifinals, they might seek to retool their roster, particularly when factoring in Kawhi Leonard’s impending free agency.