The Portland Blazers fell to another early playoff exit, sprouting uncertainty around Damian Lillard’s future. The star point guard has become the center of potential trade talks, with the Los Angeles Lakers emerging as a landing spot. With that in mind, Lillard may have just given Lakers fans a reason to spew excitement.
Damian Lillard’s uncertain situation with the Blazers
After the Blazers experienced the fourth first-round playoff exit in the last five years, it shifts the dialogue to Lillard’s future.
He will begin the first year of his four-year, $176.2 million deal that runs through the 2024-25 season. The 30-year-old is coming off another impressive campaign that saw him finish well short of competing for an NBA title.
Lillard hasn’t wavered in his commitment to the Blazers, but the head coach search process brought forth potential chatter he could reconsider his future. With that in mind, he stirred the pot again with a social media post that has Lakers fans fired up.
Damian Lillard just sent Lakers Fans into a frenzy with a single Instagram post
Lillard‘s uncertain standing with Portland quickly shifts the discussion toward possible trade scenarios, with the Lakers cropping up as a landing spot.
With that in mind, it’s led to heavy scrutiny on Lillard’s social media activity in recent weeks. The latest being an Instagram post from the recent Los Angeles Sparks/Las Vegas Aces game he attended last week.
The 30-year-old chose a photo of him smiling with a caption that possibly suggests his openness to a change.
“Who should I love? And how often?” …Everybody Always,” Lillard wrote.
It’s a cryptic message that many Lakers fans are running with the notion Lillard is open to a move. Beyond that, the post builds on the buzz that arose after Lillard and LeBron James embraced during the Sparks game. There is a strong level of mutual respect between the stars, which only adds to the situation. At the same, it may be Lillard just suggesting he shows recognition to all his NBA colleagues.
All that said, it’s a giant leap from a handshake with James and an Instagram post to think that Lillard wants to leave Portland. He has yet to inform the team of any such sentiment or taken any steps toward demanding a trade.
Nonetheless, it’s another layer added to the speculation that the seven-time All-Star may be finally moving toward the end of his Blazers’ tenure.
Los Angeles will monitor the situation, but explore other options
Any chance of landing Lillard this upcoming offseason may be a pipe dream, but it’s a situation the Lakers will monitor.
Los Angeles holds every intention of getting the most out of James’ remaining tenure as he’s under contract through the next two seasons. The front office is expected to make a concerted effort in constructing a roster around its two stars to thrust the franchise back into title contention.
If Lillard winds up not becoming a feasible option, the Lakers will quickly shift toward other backcourt scenarios. The organization could work to re-sign Dennis Schroder to a multi-year deal, but his desired price range between $100 million to $120 million may be too high for the team’s liking.
Meanwhile, Los Angeles may explore a sign-and-trade route to acquire All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry. The team nearly acquired Lowry before this past season’s trade deadline, but the reluctance to include Talen Horton-Tucker in any offer prevented the move.
The Lakers could also venture the route of signing Spencer Dinwiddie after reports surfaced he wants to play in his hometown of Los Angeles. With all those factors in play, the front office will have plenty of scenarios to considers well beyond a possible pursuit of Lillard.
Contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.