After the successful acquisition of LeBron James in the recent free agency, Los Angeles Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka made it clear that they are not done yet in upgrading their roster. They purposely filled their roster with one-year contracts to maintain their salary cap flexibility for the summer of 2019 where several NBA superstars like Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, Kemba Walker, Jimmy Butler, DeMarcus Cousins, and DeAndre Jordan are expected to become unrestricted free agents.
However, the Lakers may no longer wait for the 2019 NBA free agency to acquire their second superstar. The Lakers currently have a plethora of trade assets to engage in a blockbuster deal before the February NBA trade deadline where one of their potential targets is Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers. According to Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report, rumors and speculations are circulating that Lakers superstar LeBron James is interested in recruiting Lillard to Los Angeles.
When he was still in Cleveland, James reportedly urged the Cavaliers’ front office to trade Kyrie Irving to the Trail Blazers for Damian Lillard. Unfortunately, the Cavaliers didn’t grant James’ request and never called Portland. In a recent interview with Bleacher Report, Lillard discussed the idea of playing alongside LeBron James in Los Angeles. The 28-year-old point guard believes he and James will complement each other well, but as of now, he doesn’t see himself playing on another team.
“I love where I am,” Lillard said. “I play for a great organization. I’m not looking for nothing. I think we’d complement each other well, but the only way that ever happens is if my team decides they don’t want me no more. I’m trying to build something here.”
So far, the Trail Blazers haven’t given any indication that they plan on making Damian Lillard available on the market before the February NBA trade deadline. However, things are expected to dramatically change in Portland once the team struggles and they start to realize that they don’t have the capability to contend for the NBA championship title. Once Lillard is officially on the trading block, the Lakers will surely be very aggressive just to add him to their team.
For a player of Damian Lillard’s caliber, the Lakers will definitely won’t mind giving up a trade package including at least two of Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, and Josh Hart, together with multiple future draft picks. Bringing Lillard to Los Angeles may be a long shot for the Lakers but no one can deny the fact that pairing him with LeBron James will give them a strong chance of returning to the NBA Finals and taking home the Larry O’Brien Trophy.