NBA Rumors: Pelicans Willing To Trade Brandon Ingram For Damian Lillard, Per 'Scoop B'

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

Since they got eliminated by the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs, rumors have been continuously swirling around All-Star point guard Damian Lillard and his future with the Portland Trail Blazers. The trade speculations surrounding the face of the franchise worsened when the Trail Blazers hired Chauncey Billups as their next head coach.

According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, the Trail Blazers' recent hiring of Billups and their inability to build a legitimate title contender may force Lillard to demand a trade this summer.

Potential Trade Suitor Of Damian Lillard - New Orleans Pelicans

Damian Lillard finding his way into the basket
Gettyimages | Pool

Though he's yet to officially demand a trade, several teams are closely monitoring his situation in Portland and have started making preparations to make an intriguing offer to the Trail Blazers. One of the teams that are expected to go all-in for Lillard is the New Orleans Pelicans. In a Twitter post, Brandon "Scoop B" Robinson of Bally Sports revealed that the Pelicans have expressed willingness to sacrifice Brandon Ingram and multiple first-round picks to acquire Lillard from the Trail Blazers.

"New Orleans Pelicans are willing to part ways with Brandon Ingram in hopes of getting Damian Lillard, I’m told," Robinson said in his tweet. "Pels are also willing to part ways with multiple first round picks that they acquired in the Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday deals."

Damian Lillard Worth Giving Up Brandon Ingram

Brandon Ingram going for an easy layup
Gettyimages | Pool

Trading a young and promising small forward with huge superstar potential like Ingram would be a difficult decision for the Pelicans, but it would definitely be worth it if it means acquiring a player of Lillard's caliber. Lillard would give the Pelicans a legitimate superstar that would help Zion Williamson carry the team in the 2021-22 NBA season.

In Lillard, the Pelicans would be getting one of the league's best clutch players, as well as an incredible playmaker and an elite three-point shooter. This season, he 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.

Pelicans Should Continue Upgrading Roster Around Damian Lillard & Zion Williamson

The successful acquisition of Lillard in the 2021 offseason would undeniably make the Pelicans a more competitive team in the loaded Western Conference next year. From a lottery team, pairing Lillard with Williamson would turn the Pelicans into a legitimate playoff contender in the 2021-22 NBA season.

However, if they are serious about capturing the Larry O'Brien Trophy, the Pelicans should find a way to give Lillard and Williamson a quality supporting cast. With Ingram as the sacrificial lamb in the potential blockbuster deal, the Pelicans would be needing to find his replacement in the wing. Also, they would have to decide whether they could pair Lillard with Lonzo Ball in their backcourt or find him another backcourt partner this summer.

Brandon Ingram Gets His Own Team

Brandon Ingram taking a shot from the perimeter
Gettyimages | Chris Graythen

The proposed blockbuster trade with the Pelicans would make sense for the Trail Blazers if Lillard is no longer interested in being the leader of the team. By sending him to New Orleans, the Trail Blazers would be getting a promising player in Ingram who could be the centerpiece of the next title-contending team that they plan to build.

Being traded to Portland would also be beneficial for Ingram. Aside from becoming the face of the franchise, playing for a team that could make him the No. 1 scoring option could speed up his development into a legitimate superstar in the league.