The big NBA trade rumors heading into the offseason will be that Damian Lillard will try to force his way out of Portland. He has turned into one of the top players in the game while wearing a Trail Blazer uniform but it could be time for him to move on. If Lillard tries to force his way out of town, there will be plenty of suitors wanting to add an elite point guard.
The Denver Nuggets could be near the top of the list. Denver was swept out of the postseason by the Phoenix Suns in the second round this year. The Nuggets were without Jamal Murray in the playoffs as he sat out with an injury. The addition of Aaron Gordon helped the team gain the three seed in the Western Conference but that regular-season success did not translate into postseason success.
The Nuggets have become one of the top teams in the conference but have been unable to take that next step toward a championship. This is where the front office could be looking for a new partner in crime for MVP Nikola Jokic.
This is where Denver could target Lillard. It has been rumored for years now that the Trail Blazers could be interested in splitting up the duo of Lillard and CJ McCollum. In those rumors, it was always McCollum being the player traded away. It always seemed unlikely that Portland would move one of the top players in the game but that could all change if Lillard wants to be moved.
After yet another first-round exit, he could be pushed over the edge. Portland was unable to advance in the postseason for the fourth time in five years after being bounced by the Nuggets in round one.
It would be interesting to see Portland trade Lillard to another contender in the Western Conference but Denver has the star power that could get this deal done. Let’s take a look at what a potential deal might look like in the offseason based on analysis of Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley.