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Could Knicks Be 'Mystery Team' in Damian Lillard Trade Rumors?

Even with a crowded backcourt picture, Damian Lillard could be the superstar the New York Knicks are looking for.

With the opening of NBA training camps just around the corner, the wheels are beginning to turn on a potential Damian Lillard trade from the Portland Trail Blazers (again).

Lillard requested a trade on July 1, shortly after the NBA's free agency period began. The Blazers, technically speaking, still don't need to do anything, but if they want to officially move on from the Lillard era after his very public trade request, they would be keen to trade him before the season opener on Oct. 25.

Since the beginning of the saga, Lillard has made it clear that he prefers to be traded to the Miami Heat. Teams have essentially backed off the idea of trading for him because he has only stated a desire to play for the defending Eastern Conference champion. However, ESPN insider Marc Spears is reporting that "another Eastern Conference team" is possibly making a move toward Lillard.

"The Blazers have been talking to several teams," Spears said on ESPN. I'm kind of hearing rumors about another Eastern Conference team that I'm not gonna throw out there just yet."

Could that Eastern Conference team be the New York Knicks?

The Knicks have been clamoring for a star for a while, and have gathered as many pieces as possible to make a play for a player of Lillard's caliber.

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard

Lillard doesn't have a no-trade clause, so the Blazers can send him to whichever team grants the best offer for him, including the Knicks. The Heat has reportedly come up short in early talks as Tyler Herro is the best player reportedly offered, but Portland doesn't want him. The Blazers are building their team around guards Anfernee Simons, Shaedon Sharpe, and Scoot Henderson, the No. 3 overall pick in this summer's draft. Therefore, Herro doesn't make their team more well-rounded, which is what they are seeking in any type of deal.

While Lillard would probably like playing for a team like the Knicks since they have better championship aspirations than the Blazers, New York is unlikely to make this deal.

The Knicks have spent a lot of their time and money to build the team around Jalen Brunson, who would be an awkward fit next to Lillard. While Brunson has played in the backcourt with a fellow point guard before in Luka Doncic, it seems unlikely that New York would upend its whole vision for a shot at Lillard.