Knicks Trade Rumors: Damian Lillard ‘Has Eyes’ on NY, More Teams if Dealt

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Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Portland Trail Blazers point guard
Damian Lillard reportedly “has his eyes on” the New York Knicks
if he’s traded during the 2021 NBA offseason.

Grant Afseth of Sports Illustrated
provided word of Lillard’s interest in the Knicks on Friday after
TrueHoop’s Henry Abbott reported the 31-year-old star is going to request a trade
out of Portland “in the days to come.”

Although the speculation about the
six-time All-Star is in its early stages and New York would surely face
considerable competition if the standout guard does become available
for trade, Lillard represents exactly what the Knicks have been
missing since the days of Stephon Marbury: a true franchise point
guard.

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The Knicks made significant strides
during the 2020-21 season, posting a 41-31 record to make the
playoffs for the first time since 2013. Derrick Rose played well as a
short-term option at the point, and forward Julius Randle handled a
lot of playmaking responsibility, but the void remained in the bigger picture.

Lillard would not only fill that
longstanding hole on the roster, but alongside Randle, RJ Barrett, Obi Toppin and Mitchell Robinson, he would also make the Knicks a budding
threat in the Eastern Conference, though some of the young players would
likely be involved in the discussions with Portland.

The Weber State product
averaged 28.8 points, which ranked third in the NBA, along with 7.5
assists, 4.2 rebounds and 4.1 threes across 67 games for the Blazers
during the 2020-21 campaign. He finished seventh in MVP voting.

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It’s not the first time the Californian has been linked to a trade to the Knicks.

In June 2020, he told Lisa Robinson of
Vanity Fair he thought he was heading to New York a couple
years ago and professed his love for Madison Square Garden, the
team’s home arena.

“I thought I was headed there a few
years ago; I was hearing trade rumors,” Lillard said. “The Garden
is my favorite place to play.”

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The Blazers would hold most of the
leverage in trade talks, though. Lillard is just getting set to start
a four-year, $176.3 million contract, which includes three guaranteed
seasons and a player option, so he’s linked to Portland at least
through the 2023-24 campaign.

For now, Lillard is heading to Tokyo
with Team USA for the Summer Olympics, so it’s unlikely any
significant developments occur until he returns in mid-August.

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