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A pair of surprising lottery teams are reportedly aggressively pursuing disgruntled Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard.
Forget the NBA Finals for a minute. The next-biggest story in the league right now is the uncertainty around Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers.
Although a trade this summer still feels unlikely, when it comes down to it, resolving that conflict will have huge ramifications on the NBA, whether the Blazers make moves to keep Lillard on their side or ultimately decide to trade their star within the next year or so.
Lillard has put Portland in a bit of a no-win situation, which could incentivize them to listen to some surprise suitors.
The Kings and Rockets are among the teams hard after Damian Lillard
According to sources cited by Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, there are two lottery teams among the teams most aggressively pursuing Lillard. Everyone expected the Miami Heat, New York Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers to be involved, but the Sacramento Kings and Houston Rockets? That makes it interesting.
Sacramento had the chance to draft Lillard in 2012, but they passed him over for Thomas Robinson. That was obviously a costly mistake. Getting him now would be even more pricey.
Per O’Connor, front-office sources around the league expect an unlikely Lillard trade to include “multiple young players, plus three first-round picks and four first-round pick swaps,” similar to what the Brooklyn Nets offered for James Harden.
For the Kings, meeting those parameters would almost certainly involve De’Aaron Fox and more.
The Rockets are another fascinating option. They could turn around and use the draft assets they picked up from Brooklyn in a move to land Lillard. That would change the complexion of their apparent rebuild quite a bit though, especially knowing that the situation with Lillard could just end up mirroring Harden’s with the star player not interested in being in Houston.
The Kings and Rockets would have to do a lot of work to give Lillard what he wants, which is a title-contending squad.