It sounds as if the Boston Celtics may be getting in on the Damian Lillard sweepstakes after all — well, at least thinking about it.
According to Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes, the Celtics were one of several teams that reached out to the Portland Trail Blazers to check the price on a potential trade.
“It did cause teams to pause, hold on, let’s wait on what he had planned and let’s look to see if we had a shot,” Haynes said on his This League Uncut Podcast. “The Clippers, the Timberwolves, Pelicans, Boston Celtics, those are the team off the top of my head, I’m pretty sure there were more, those were the teams that I know called out to reach out to see what it would take (to land Lillard).”
Lillard has been linked to Boston for over a year at this point, as his future with the Blazers has been uncertain for quite some time now. The two sides are connected more so because of the assets that the Celtics have to offer, rather than because of any real traction in regards to a blockbuster trade.
The Boston Celtics may be hesitant to trade for Damian Lillard
The reported most-likely scenario is that the seven-time All-NBA guard winds up with the Miami Heat, who topped the C’s in seven games in the Eastern Conference Finals last season. Lillard has made it widely known that Miami is his preferred destination — so much so that other teams may be hesitant to swing a deal for him, according to The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson and Anthony Chiang.
“But Lillard holds one big leverage card: Other potential suitors know that he wants to play in Miami,” the pair explained. “So would anyone make a serious offer knowing their team is not his preference, especially considering the money that Lillard is due (four years, $216 million)? That’s highly questionable.”
Boston certainly falls under the umbrella of teams that are “not his preference.” Haynes reported so last month, during an appearance on The Dan Patrick Show.
“He’s not doing Boston,” Haynes said on June 8.
Does a Damian Lillard trade even make sense for the Boston Celtics?
Well, it depends on who you ask.
Some Celtics fans are all-in on the idea, while others aren’t interested in a move that would likely require Brad Stevens to split up Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
If Boston was to make a move for Lillard, they’d have him under contract through the 2026-27 season, where he’d be making $63 million at age 36, per Spotrac.
Age truly is the big factor in terms of talking trades here. In the hypothetical scenario where Boston would send the 26-year-old Brown to Portland in exchange for the 32-year-old star, they’d be trading off six years and saving very little money.
Plus, Lillard is only six-foot-two, which, at the very least, could make him a target on the defensive end. Throw in the fact that athleticism is a major part of his game, as he needs his quick burst to create shots and get to the rim, and age becomes a massive issue. Athleticism doesn’t stick around forever, and when Lillard inevitably loses him, he’ll have to change his game quite a bit.
The other point of view on this issue comes from a “win now” standpoint.
Last season, Portland’s No. 0 was named to his seventh NBA All-Star team. He averaged 32.2 points, 7.3 assists, and 4.8 rebounds per game while shooting 46.3% from the field and 37.2% from beyond the arc. Those are some monster numbers.
If the Celtics were to pull the trigger on a deal to send Lillard to Boston, they’d be acquiring a proven scorer, who has a much tighter handle than Brown. His quickness and ability to create shots could help to spice up a Celtics offense that got a bit stale at times in the playoffs.
Though the rumors are running wild, there’s been no massive movement that indicates major change coming to Boston’s backcourt just yet.