Does Blazers exodus mean Lakers will trade for Damian Lillard?

Los Angeles Lakers, Portland Trail Blazers

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Can the Los Angeles Lakers trade for Damian Lillard after the Blazers dealt C.J. McCollum to the Pelicans? Why a deal is still unlikely:

To put it simply, despite the Lakers’ fanbase’s insistence that they trade for Lillard, it’s still quite unlikely.

Unless the trade between the Blazers and Pelicans for C.J. McCollum loaded the Lakers’ roster with young talent or draft picks, Portland general manager Joe Cronin isn’t going to change his mind.

Per Adrian Wojnarowski, the Blazers plan to keep Lillard and rebuild the roster around him thanks to an increase in draft capital and cap space. Trading Lillard away would only delay their path to a contender, and Cronin isn’t ready to rebuild.

Lakers rumors: Damian Lillard trade near?

As much as the Lakers may want to trade for Lillard, they don’t have the assets necessary to acquire him. Any mock trade offer via ESPN’s trade machine that simply mentions THT+picks is a poorly thought out strategy, and no one based in reality.

FanSided’s Alicia De Artola put it best when discussing this exact reality mere months ago.

“When they made the move for Anthony Davis, the Lakers sent their 2022 and 2024 first-round selections to the New Orleans Pelicans, along with swap rights for 2023. While other teams will be able to throw in first-rounders to sweeten the pot, LA doesn’t control a first-round selection after the coming draft until 2025 at the earliest.”

Lillard will always make sense playing alongside LeBron in some Lakers’ fan-based virtual reality, but this isn’t 2K. Teams don’t just exist to make the Lakers happy and try to extend their LeBron-shaped window. Los Angeles’ roster concerns mean nothing to the rest of the Association.

Lillard met with LeBron last summer and even flirted with the idea of a Lakers trade on social media. But since, he’s established he’s anti-super team, and even met with Blazers brass as they were hiring Chauncey Billups as head coach. He has a say in every front office and free agent decision.

It’s a clever idea, but the Lakers will not trade for Lillard in the near future.

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