Portland Trail Blazers’ superstars Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are undeniably one of the most explosive backcourt duos in the league, but in the years that they’ve played together, they have yet to win an NBA championship or even reach the NBA Finals. With the Trail Blazers failing to reach expectations, it’s not a surprise that rumors are currently swirling around Lillard and McCollum’s future in Portland. Once the Trail Blazers decide to break up their dynamic duo and let Lillard go, several NBA teams would likely express a strong interest in getting the All-Star point guard’s services, including the Boston Celtics.
In his recent article, Andrew Hughes of Fansided’s Hardwood Houdini included a Lillard-to-Celtics trade on the list of franchise-altering blockbuster deals that GM Danny Ainge could make in the 2020 NBA offseason. In the proposed trade deal, the Celtics would send a trade package that includes Kemba Walker, the Memphis Grizzlies’ 2020 first-round pick, and Boston’s 2020 first-round pick to the Trail Blazers in exchange for Lillard.
Though it would cost them two first-round picks, the deal is still a no-brainer for the Celtics, especially since they are in a win-now mode. Walker may have had an impressive performance in his first season with the Celtics, but he’s still not on Lillard’s level. In terms of scoring, playmaking, and floor-spacing, Lillard is clearly the better point guard.
Hughes believes that adding Lillard to the core of Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Gordon Hayward, and Marcus Smart would make the Celtics the favorite to represent the Eastern Conference in the NBA Finals next season.
“For the Celtics, such an upgrade at the point guard spot can open up the offense even more. Lillard is a superior distributor to Walker, averaging eight assists this season to Walker’s five. The Weber State product is also a superior 3-point shooter, averaging two percentage points better from downtown this season and owning a higher career percentage overall. Lillard raises Boston’s ceiling even higher than it already is, and arguably pushes them into favorite territory when it comes to Eastern Conference contenders.”
Meanwhile, the potential deal would only make sense for the Trail Blazers if Lillard expresses a desire to leave Portland. Walker would immediately fill the hole Lillard would leave with the team, giving McCollum a new backcourt partner. The Trail Blazers could use the two 2020 first-round picks to add young and promising talent to their roster or as trade chips to acquire an established veteran that complements their new core.