5 teams that could be the best landing spots for him after he requests a deal

CLEVELAND, Ohio — The NBA landscape is set for another shake-up after Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard requested a trade on Saturday.

The 7-time All-Star has spent his entire 11-year career with the Blazers and is coming off a season in which he scored a career-high 32.2 points per game. game and shot 37.1% from 3-point range on 11.3 attempts per match. .

Lillard, who turns 33 on July 15, has two years remaining on a four-year deal worth just more than $176 million, including a player option next season for nearly $48.8 million. So in terms of salary and value, the Blazers need to get a lot in return for him.

But where could he go?

Here are a few potential landing spots that make sense for Lillard.

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The Celtics already made a big name move this offseason when they acquired Kristaps Porzingis from the Wizards in a three-team deal. But in that trade, they also traded away their longtime starting point guard in Marcus Smart.

Should they land Lillard, they could more than make up for the loss of Smart, who is one of the best defensive guards in the NBA. They have Derrick White, but he’s not a true point guard.

The Celtics may also have the best asset on this roster in Jaylen Brown, who has come under heavy fire for his poor play in the Eastern Conference Finals vs. Heat in the past season. Brown is set to hit unrestricted free agency next season and could get a supermax extension.

Brown and Jayson Tatum have had plenty of success together. But trading a player like Brown, who is in some ways redundant because of Tatum, to get Lillard makes a lot of sense for Boston.

The Nets got quite a bit in the Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant trades last season. The question, however, is what kind of ceiling they have.

Brooklyn’s roster is weird because it has so many wings that do similar things. Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson are clearly their starters on the wing, and Dorian Finney-Smith can play and defend multiple positions. But how far can they go with Spencer Dinwiddie as their starting point guard?

The Nets have no shortage of assets to use in a big trade. Between their multiple first-round picks and wings like Finney-Smith and Royce O’Neale, they have plenty of attractive pieces.

That Ben Simmons contract remains an albatross. It could be the easiest way for the two teams to match salaries in a trade, but it means Brooklyn may have to give up something to move him in a Lillard trade.

The Paul George-Kawhi Leonard partnership hasn’t gone nearly as well as expected for the Clippers. Injuries have played a big part in why their potential has never been realized.

Whether they want to break it up vs. whether they can do so are two different questions. But it’s clear the Clippers need more, or at least something different.

They could also be a destination for James Harden. But given Lillard’s playoff pedigree, that might be a better way to go.

A Lillard trade could also push Russell Westbrook to the bench, where he might be better suited at this stage in his career.

Of the teams that appear to be interested in Lillard, the Heat have been the most linked to him, and it makes sense why. The Heat lost key pieces Gabe Vincent and Max Strus to free agency, and several of their key players, including Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry, are in their 30s.

That means Miami’s window could close very quickly.

Pairing Lillard and Butler, two players with good playoff track records, with Bam Adebayo could make the Heat a stronger title contender.

However, their ability to make this trade is not so cut and dry. They can trade their 2027 and 2029 first round picks because their 2025 first round pick could go to the Thunder if the Heat make the playoffs.

Lillard wants the heat by David Aldridge of The Athletic. But getting him to Miami might require a three- or four-team deal as Anthony Chiang and Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald wrote Monday.

Given the Sixers’ rumors about the value of Tyrese Maxey, this feels like the least likely option of these five teams. It’s hard not to love Lillard’s fit on the 76ers, though.

Pairing Lillard with Joel Embiid could give Philadelphia one of the best one-two combos in all of basketball. They thought they got that with Embiid and Harden, but that hasn’t gotten them out of the second round of the playoffs.

If they somehow found a way to keep Maxey while getting Lillard, the 76ers could be as dangerous as anyone in the NBA.

But just like with the Heat, acquiring Lillard could be very difficult, especially if Portland doesn’t want to take back Harden’s expiring contract.

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