Trail Blazers Should Trade for Kevin Love to Appease Damian Lillard
Following the Blazers' early playoff exit, the focus shifted to their star point guard's future with the franchise.
It created a whirlwind of rumors that Lillard could finally force his way out of Portland, but that has yet to come to fruition. The star guard has made it clear that he wants to remain with the team that drafted him.
Lillard is beginning the first season of his four-year, $176.2 million deal that extends through the 2024-25 campaign. At least contractually, he’s committed to the franchise for at least the next three seasons before he will have to decide whether to pick up his $48.7 million player option for the 2024-25 season.
However, it’s becoming increasingly harder to envision Lillard wanting to continue to put up with the lack of roster moves from the front office. The organization managed to re-sign Norman Powell to a five-year, $90 million deal, but aside from that, there weren’t any highly impactful moves that could make the Blazers more dangerous in the postseason.
Portland inked veterans Tony Snell, Ben McLemore, and Cody Zeller to one-year deals. All that at least led the 31-year-old to at least foreshadow a change of heart down the line during an Instagram Live on Tuesday night.
“I’m not leaving PDX,” Lillard said via Oregon Live. “not right now at least.”
While the Blazers have made some lackluster roster decisions, there is one player available who would make Lillard a little happier in the Pacific Northwest.
Portland can make a strong push to land the former All-Star, who’s been in trade rumors for the last several years.
Love has even indicated he would love to play for his hometown Blazers alongside Lillard if the opportunity arose.
“Who wouldn’t want to play with Dame Lillard, first of all,” Love said on “Posted Up.” “Dame, he’s special. He’s amazing. I claim Portland when they ask me where I’m from. It’s where I spent all of my formative years. I grew up in Portland.
“When people ask where I was born, obviously I say L.A. But Portland is always going to be a special place in my heart. Whether it be at the end of my career, whether it be in six months, or whatever it may be, if I was wearing a Portland jersey, that’s special. That’s playing at home.”
Love isn’t the player he once was, sure, but can still contribute at a high level behind his scoring, outside shooting touch, and rebounding. The 32-year-old still has two more years left on his four-year, $120 million deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The five-time All-Star would be a welcomed addition to the Blazers, who need another bonafide player to lift them forward. Yes, Love wouldn’t make Portland into a title contender, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction.
The question then lies with the Blazers’ willingness to move significant pieces to make a deal happen. Lillard isn’t actively pushing his way out, but if the franchise wants to keep its star player happy and committed for the long haul, this move would go a long way.
Photo: Getty Images