Major changes could be coming for the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Blazers are coming off a second consecutive season in which they suffered a first-round playoff exit. Damian Lillard has remained committed to Portland through the ups and downs he has encountered as the face of the franchise, but the organization probably can’t bank on him continuing to do so. Why would one of the NBA’s best players want to stick with a team that doesn’t have any real championship aspirations?
So, with a seismic shift in Portland a legitimate possibility, Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix believes the Boston Celtics should keep a close eye on the Trail Blazers.
“If you’re Boston, you are just circling the Portland Trail Blazers like a vulture,” Mannix said Wednesday on “Early Edition,” as transcribed by NBC Sports Boston. “You are just watching them and seeing what they do, because maybe Damian Lillard comes back next year to that team, but that’s not a good team.
“And if that team starts out like 11-20 or something as we get into January, they are going to be looking to make a move. And if they’re looking to make a move and blow that whole thing up, I want to be first in line for either Damian Lillard or CJ McCollum with assets in hand when they decide to make that deal.”
Of course, acquiring Lillard or McCollum would not be an inexpensive move for the Celtics, or any other interested team. Not only are they two of the league’s better guards, but neither player would be a rental. Lillard has four years remaining on his current deal, while McCollum has three.
In turn, we likely would see a bidding war if either player becomes available. In fact, five teams already have been reported as “aggressive” suitors for Lillard.