Every offseason, there are heavy rumors of superstars joining the New York Knicks. The last one of those that actually materialized was probably the trade for Carmelo Anthony, but as the Damian Lillard trade rumors heat up, Knicks fans find themselves in this familiar spot once again.
Earlier today, Henry Abbott of TrueHoop sent the Lillard speculation into overdrive, reporting that Lillard plans to request a trade “in the days to come.” This comes after yet another early playoff flameout for the Portland Trail Blazers, the firing of Terry Stotts, and the controversial hire of Chauncey Billups.
Lillard has been dedicated to Portland since the team drafted him in 2012, becoming a true superstar and making the team a regular playoff participant. They’ve been unable to get over the hump, and now the controversy surrounding the franchise has potentially made things less tenable for the 31-year old.
There have been plenty of rumors about Lillard heading close to home to team up with Stephen Curry with the Golden State Warriors, or to create a three-headed monster with LeBron James and Anthony Davis with the Los Angeles Lakers. The New York Knicks appear to be on the rise, though, and Lillard could be the face of that historic franchise. According to Sports Illustrated‘s Grant Afseth, he has his eyes on the Knicks as an option.
Trail Blazers superstar Damian Lillard has his eyes on the New York Knicks among trade destinations in the event he were to be dealt, per a source.
— Grant Afseth (@GrantAfseth) July 16, 2021
In his first year with the franchise, Tom Thibodeau led the Knicks to a surprising 41-31 record and fourth-place finish in the Eastern Conference, before falling in the first round to the similarly upstart Atlanta Hawks. Still, the future appears bright in New York.
Julius Randle broke out as an All-NBA-level forward this season. There are still questions whether the Knicks have the championship upside that Lillard is looking for. Even with an all-world guard like Lillard added to a fun young team, it is unclear if they’d immediately be thrust into the Philadelphia/Brooklyn/Milwaukee tier atop the East.
What has become clear in the NBA in recent years is that if a star of Damian Lillard’s caliber wants to be traded, he’ll find a way to make it happen. It should be a fascinating offseason.