In order to convince LeBron James to stay, adding another legitimate superstar is a must for the Cleveland Cavaliers. Several NBA superstars like DeMarcus Cousins, DeAndre Jordan, and Paul George will be available in the free agency market this summer. However, being buried deep in the luxury tax hell, the only way for the Cavaliers to improve their roster is via trade. One of the dream trade targets for Cleveland is Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers.
According to Quenton Albertie of King James Gospel, the acquisition of Damian Lillard will strengthen the Cavaliers’ chance of re-signing LeBron James this offseason. The 27-year-old All-Star guard will undeniably fill the hole left by Kyrie Irving since he was traded to the Boston Celtics.
“Lillard, a fearless competitor with unlimited shooting range, a great shooting stroke and the ability to get into the paint with ease, would be a definite offensive upgrade in the Cavaliers’ backcourt.”
In a proposed trade deal, Albertie suggested that the Cavaliers will be needing to explore a two-player combination trade package of Tristan Thompson, George Hill, J.R. Smith, and Jordan Clarkson. Given their age and deteriorating performance, the Trail Blazers will surely pass on Smith and Hill, making Thompson and Clarkson as likely trade candidates. To sweeten the deal, Cleveland could also send the Brooklyn Nets’ 2018 first-round pick to Portland.
Damian Lillard, together with LeBron James and Kevin Love, will form the new “Big Three” in Cleveland. The potential trade deal will definitely benefit not only the Cavaliers but also Lillard. Despite leading the Trail Blazers to the playoffs for the past four seasons, Lillard remains as one of the most underrated superstars in the league.
Joining James will undeniably elevate his NBA status and help him reach his goal of winning his first NBA championship title. Despite having a previous dispute, James still admires Lillard and sees him as one of the players with a true basketball mind. James’ recent statements hinted that he’s looking forward on seeing Lillard wearing the wine and gold next season.
“If you’re a true basketball [mind], which there’s not a lot of true basketball minds and people who understand, but for me, I understand it and I know,” James said, via Dave McMenamin of ESPN. “Give me Damian Lillard, I’ll show you how appreciated he will be.”
As of now, there is only a slim chance that the Trail Blazers will make Damian Lillard available on the trade market, unless the All-Star guard himself asks to leave Portland to join a legitimate title contender like the Cavaliers. If Lillard won’t be available, Cleveland should look for other superstars who could help them convince LeBron James to stay and win their second NBA championship title.