NBA Rumors: Damian Lillard-To-Pelicans Blockbuster Possible, Brandon Ingram As 'Main Trade Piece'

Damian Lillard trying to steal the ball from Brandon Ingram
Gettyimages | Steve Dykes
Basketball

The 2020-21 season is still far from over, but rumors have already started to swirl around All-Star point guard Damian Lillard and his future with the Portland Trail Blazers. As of now, the Trail Blazers don't have any plan of trading Lillard but if they won't show him a clear path to title contention this summer, some people believe that it would only be a matter of time before he follows in the footsteps of other superstars and start finding his way out of Portland.

Pelicans Considered As Ideal Trade Partner For Trail Blazers

Damian Lillard preparing to penetrate the basket
Gettyimages | Pool

If Lillard expresses his desire to leave the team, the Trail Blazers would be left with no choice but to listen to offers for him this desire. However, any potential suitor of Lillard on the trade market should expect to pay the king's ransom to convince the Trail Blazers to engage in a blockbuster deal.

In his article, Greg Patuto of NBA Analysis Network named three teams that could offer the best trade package for Lillard this summer. Unsurprisingly, the list includes the New Orleans Pelicans, who have a collection of young and promising players and accumulated a plethora of first-round picks by trading Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday in the past offseasons.

Pelicans Could Explore Trading Brandon Ingram For Damian Lillard

Brandon Ingram taking a free throw
Gettyimages | Chris Graythen

With their goal to return to the playoffs next season, targeting a superstar like Lillard would make a lot of sense for the Pelicans. However, according to Patuto, the Pelicans should be prepared to use Brandon Ingram as the "main trade piece" of their offer to persuade the Trail Blazers to send Lillard to New Orleans this summer.

"Ingram signed an extension prior to the regular season but could be the main trade piece involved in a deal for Damian Lillard. The Pelicans could also throw in Eric Bledsoe, who came over in the Jrue Holiday deal with the Milwaukee Bucks."

Zion Williamson-Damian Lillard Pairing Could Make Pelicans More Dangerous Next Season

The Pelicans shouldn't think twice before trading Ingram for Lillard, especially if they are serious about making a huge noise in the Western Conference next year. Pairing Zion Williamson with an established superstar like Lillard would boost their chances of reaching the playoffs in the 2021-22 NBA season.

Lillard would tremendously improve the Pelicans' performance on the offensive end of the floor, giving them one of the league's best clutch scorers, as well as a great playmaker and floor-spacer. This season, the 30-year-old point guard averaged 28.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 7.5 assists while shooting 45.1 percent from the field and 39.1 percent from beyond the arc, per ESPN.

Why The Trail Blazers Would Make The Trade

The proposed trade scenario would greatly benefit the Trail Blazers if they are planning to undergo a full-scale rebuild. Ingram may still have plenty of things that he needs to work on his game, but he's one of the young players that are capable of leading his own team and becoming the face of the franchise.

Being traded to the Trail Blazers may also benefit Ingram. Being the main guy of a team instead of serving as Williamson's sidekick in New Orleans would speed up his development into a legitimate superstar in the league.