With only four teams remaining in the NBA playoffs, the remaining teams have started their offseason plans to improve both their staffs and rosters. The Portland Trail Blazers in particular made headlines this past week with the hiring of former Los Angeles Clippers assistant coach Chauncey Billups as their latest head coach.
However, this move has caused some dissatisfaction with superstar point guard Damian Lillard, and he could be on the way out sooner rather than later.
Lillard is a phenomenal talent and has easily been one of the top three point guards in the league in the past few seasons. Both Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley should do everything in their power to bring “Dame Time” to the Windy City. Here is why this trade makes sense for both sides.
Chance of Building a Big Three
The Bulls already possess two All-Stars from a season ago in the form of Zach LaVine and Nikola Vucevic. The idea of adding a superstar to this group will only enhance the team.
Having a core consisting of Lillard, LaVine, and Vucevic would give opposing teams nightmares on a nightly basis as all three are capable of scoring 20+ a night and can shoot from all parts of the court. The idea of pairing both Lillard and LaVine even has ESPN NBA analyst Jay Williams extremely excited.
With the Eastern Conference only possessing two championship caliber teams, the Bulls could easily find themselves in the mix for a third or fourth seed in a weaker conference. Additionally, Lillard would have the ability to consistently go far into the playoffs and compete for championships.
Lillard has spent the last nine seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers, showing loyalty towards the franchise. However, if he indeed wants a change of scenery, Chicago may be the place for him. Besides Los Angeles and New York, Chicago is the third biggest city out of all the current NBA markets.
Lillard would have the opportunity to play for a new city that is ready to embrace him with easily the most loyal fans in the league. With Dame ready to turn 31 this July, he most likely will have a good 4-5 years left in the tank at his current level. From an opportunity standpoint, Lillard could further build his brand in Chicago while also playing for a new team.
From the Bulls perspective, the team has struggled to solidify their point guard spot since Derrick Rose was traded to the New York Knicks back in 2016. The lack of a clear floor general has derailed the team on many occasions. Coby White is a young talent, but it is more suited to playing as a scoring guard off the bench like a Jordan Clarkson or Jamal Crawford.
Bringing in Lillard solidifies the point guard spot and solves a need for the team. It won’t be easy, as Dame has a hefty contract, but I’m sure Bulls fans would prefer to see the superstar hitting game winners for us rather than against us.
What Will it Take to Bring Lillard Over?
Here is the one difficulty with trading for Lillard. He will cost a fortune to bring over to Chicago. Additionally, the team is shorthanded on its draft capital as it shipped out two first round picks in the Nikola Vucevic deal.
It will most likely cost the combination of Patrick Williams, Coby White, Marko Simonovic, and multiple first rounders to at least get Portland interested in trade talks.
Additionally, Lillard carries a large cap hit, upwards of 40 million dollars, making him an expensive aging asset. Should the Bulls go after him? Absolutely, but it should not be at the expense of mortgaging the future.
Whatever the case is, both Karnisovas and Eversley have shown a knack of swinging big and bringing in talent. It will be exciting to see what happens with Damian Lillard in the coming months.