The consensus is quite clear, if the New York Knicks are going to allocate exponential resources to a star point guard, it should be Damian Lillard and not Chris Paul. While Paul has proven himself for many years, making the All-Star team for the past two seasons, he averaged just 16.4 points last season at the age of 35 and is looking for a contract of three years that would end at age 39.
Ultimately, the Knicks might have to leave with draft capital to acquire Lillard, but he gives them better play over an extended period of time. Lillard recently signed a four-year, $ 176.2 million extension with the Portland Trailblazers, which hasn’t even started yet. If the Knicks managed to trade for the PG star, they would have guaranteed him for the next four seasons, as there are no options built into the deal.
Ultimately, the Knicks have the capital and the cash to spend, with over $ 60 million available to appropriate in free agency. Lillard will count around $ 40 million against the salary cap next year, which will give New York a little more money to work. They already have Julius Randle under contract and are still looking to add some additional pieces.
If New York plays its cards right, they could walk away this offseason with a few top players, which would hopefully strengthen their squad enough to help them compete in the playoffs with realistic expectations. In fact, the Knicks are currently favored to land Lillard this offseason if a trade falls.
Betting odds for Damian Lillard this offseason:
- 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 the services of Damian Lillard 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 0.451 from the field. Lillard attempts 10.5 3-PT shots per game, hitting 0.391% of his shots. He’s also a .928 free throw shooter, another stellar stat to add to his arsenal of qualities. On average 35.8 minutes per game, pairing him up with a player like Randle, who won the “Most Improved Player of the Year” award, would give the team a solid double.
Lillard could ultimately be the catalyst for the Knicks’ future success, but they would have to part ways with draft capital and possibly a few young players to acquire him in Portland. It would start a rebuild for the Blazers, something they might not be too excited about given they’ve just made the playoffs. However, if Damian wishes to move, they may have no choice but to carry out his wishes.