Damian Lillard didn’t want to wait for a young player to develop, but the Portland Trail Blazers drafted three youngsters in Thursday’s NBA Draft instead of trading for veteran help. Now Dame Dolla has his sights on one particular veteran who has beaten him in ten straight playoff games.
According to The Athletic’s Sam Amick, could look to sign Draymond Green, who recently declined a $30 million player option from the Golden State Warriors to become a free agent.#RipCity https://t.co/SDCf7Y1Evd— Blazer's Edge (@blazersedge) June 26, 2023
Sam Amick reported that Lillard’s “dream scenario” this offseason would be Portland signing the Golden State Warriors’ free agent forward Draymond Green, while bringing back their own free agent forward, Jerami Grant.
Green and Lillard won a gold medal together for Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics in 2021.
Though Lillard has never been a guest on “The Draymond Green Show”, The Portland guard has long been an admirer of Green, especially as the Blazers have struggled to build a strong defense around their star scorer. Last year, Lillard scored 40 or more points 15 different times - and Portland lost six of those games, including one where he went for 50 against Cleveland.
Unfortunately for Lillard’s plans, there’s no obvious way that the Trail Blazers could sign Green. They can go over the cap to sign Grant because they have his Bird rights, but his $31 million cap hold effectively precludes Portland from having any space. Portland would have to ditch a lot of players to make enough space for Green, or make a sign-and-trade with the Warriors, neither of which seems likely.
Would Green fit in Rip City? The Pacific Northwest does traditionally like podcasts. Portland is a big city for bikes; Draymond loves SoulCycle and riding a stationary bicycle in the sauna. Yes, Green and the Warriors swept Portland in the playoffs in 2017 and 2019, but Blazers fans don’t tend to hold grudges. They embraced Scottie Pippen seven years after he and the Bulls beat them in the 1992 Finals, embraced former rivals like Shawn Kemp and Carmelo Anthony, and even cheered for Nike hater Enes Kanter Freedom, who provided 100% of the annoyance and outspokenness of Green with a fraction of the talent.
Lillard will have a chance to make his pitch to Blazers brass Monday, when he and his agent will meet to discuss the direction of the franchise.
Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard and his agent Aaron Goodwin are meeting with the team today to discuss the franchise’s direction, league sources tell @NBAonTNT, @BleacherReport. pic.twitter.com/mUgEDzEbsw— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) June 26, 2023
As yet, Lillard hasn’t requested a trade from Portland, nor has the team given any indication they’re planning to trade him. But if signing Draymond Green is what it’s going to take to keep Lillard happy in Portland, then all indications are that he’s not going to be happy.
What the next step for the superstar and the team aren’t for us to say, but Lillard’s recent Instagram Live could have provided a clue as to his desired destination.
“In all, Goodwin said, Lillard went live for approximately 15 minutes. The "Miami" song wasn't the end of it, either, as the DJ also played the Whitney Houston classic "I wanna dance with somebody" that includes the lyric,— dru_star (@dru_star) June 24, 2023
"I wanna feel the Heat with somebody."” pic.twitter.com/DGKzzoLOme
(UPDATE: Lillard did indeed appear on Green’s podcast in April.)