Could the Boston Celtics trade for Damian Lillard if the Portland Trail Blazers ultimately decide to kickstart a rebuild by dealing away their All-Star point guard?
Colin Cowherd on Thursday explained why he believes the Celtics are a “perfect fit” for Lillard, who makes a substantial amount of money but remains one of the NBA’s most talented players at age 31.
“This is why the Celtics trade we discussed (Wednesday) works,” Cowherd said on FS1. “Because Boston has somebody that’s a little bit the opposite of Dame. His name is Jayson Tatum.
“Now, whereas Dame has great leadership skills, that’s the knock on Tatum. He’s just talented. Whereas Dame has an older body, Tatum only played one year of college and he’s only 23. Whereas Dame isn’t great on the defensive end of the floor, Tatum’s fine. Jayson Tatum and Dame — one’s ascending, one’s an older body who’s still great. But if Dame needs to be your No. 1 every night, then you’re the Portland Trail Blazers. But in Boston, he can be a (No.) 1 occasionally, a (No.) 1A a lot of nights, and then other nights he’s a (No.) 2. And that feels like a team that could get to the Finals.”
In other words, Cowherd thinks Boston’s youthful core — spearheaded by Tatum — creates the perfect balance for adding someone like Lillard, a smaller, offensive-minded veteran who comes with a lot of mileage but also the potential to put Boston over the top in the Eastern Conference.
“Dame’s gotta be honest with Dame now. What do you want to be?” Cowherd asked, referring to Lillard’s apparent desire to tack more years onto his already lucrative contract with the Blazers. “If you want to make $50 million a year, you’re not a championship player. But if you want to go to Boston, have the money you have and be willing to be like a (No.) 1A or some nights a (No.) 2, now we’re talking a different arena. Now we’re talking playing in June. Now we’re talking potentially playing in the Finals.”
The Celtics have some issues, which held them back last season and now are raising questions about their ceiling this season. Acquiring Lillard might not solve all of those problems, but it’d be a fascinating shake-up, especially if Boston kept both Tatum and Jaylen Brown in the trade process.