Consensus is quite clear. If the New York Knicks want to allocate exponential resources to a star point, it must be Damian Lillard and not Chris Paul. While Paul has proven his worth for many years and made the All-Star team the last two seasons, he scored just 16.4 points last season as a 35-year-old and is seeking a three-year contract ending at 39.
Eventually, the Knicks may be able to travel with draft capital to acquire Lillard, but he offers them better games over a longer period of time. Lillard recently signed a four-year, $ 176.2 million expansion with the Portland Trailblazers, which has not even kicked in yet. If the Knicks managed to trade for star PG, they would have him guaranteed the next four seasons as there are no options built into the deal.
Ultimately, the Knicks have draft capital and money to spend, with up to $ 60 million available for appropriation in free agency. Lillard will count about $ 40 million toward the salary cap next year, giving New York a little more cash to work with. They already have Julius Randle under contract and are still looking to add a few additional pieces.
If New York plays their cards right, they can walk away this low season with a pair of high-profile players who will hopefully strengthen their teams enough to help them compete in the mail season with realistic expectations. In fact, the Knicks are currently preferred to land Lillard this low season if a trade does not go down.
Betting odds for Damian Lillard this low season:
- New York Knicks: +250
- Los Angeles Clippers: +275
- Miami Heat: +300
- Los Angeles Lakers: +350
- Philadelphia 76ers: +400
- Boston Celtics: +450
These are the favorites to land Damian Lillard̵7;s services if the Blazers decide to move him 👀 pic.twitter.com/AeK632pz0K
– HoopsHype (@hoopshype) June 8, 2021
In 2020, the Portland star averaged 28.8 points, 7.5 assists and shot .451 off the field. Lillard tries 10.5 3-PT shots per. Play and hit a stellar .391% of his shots. He’s also a .928 free throw shooter, another star statistic that adds to his arsenal of qualities. An average of 35.8 minutes per. Match, pairing him with a player like Randle, who received the award “Most Improved Player of the Year”, would give the team a healthy one-two strokes.
Lillard may ultimately be the catalyst behind the Knicks’ future success, but they will have to separate from draft capital and probably a few young players to acquire him from Portland. It would start a rebuild for the Blazers, something they might not have been too excited about given they were just getting to the playoffs. But if Damian wants a move, they may have no choice but to carry out his wishes.