Dame to Dubs Talk | The LaVine Variable – Trade Speculations & Scenarios

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Updated: July 13, 2021
Trail Blazers Warriors Basketball

The Athletic have reported discussions between Portland and Golden State for a Damian Lillard deal. Since the signing of Chancy Billups as head coach, Dame has been rumored to want out of Portland due to the backlash he faced for co-signing the hire despite the sexual assault allegations Billups settled out of court his rookie season. It was previously assumed, due to Lillard’s legacy as a Trail Blazer that he would be consulted on the franchise and location he would be sent to. However, it is unclear the current climate that clouds between Dame and the Portland front office.

Only last week, Lillard went on record to say that words had been put in his mouth by the media and people outside of his camp, yet now The Athletic has dropped this Golden State report which assumes that a Lillard trade is a probable one. With the current Trail Blazer roster and their unlikely route to the title in a loaded West, it is unclear why Dame would want to stay in Portland.

Although the fit is a questionable one, with two undersized guards in the backcourt, the light show of Dame-Time and Chef-Curry is an obvious draw with its pyrotechnic possibilities on any given night. Especially if Klay were to return a similar version of game 6 Klay we saw in the Finals against Toronto back in 2019, it would arguably the best scoring trio in basketball…especially since the East coast version never appears to be healthy at the same time.

Despite the fit, the reason the talks are occurring between Golden State and Portland is that the Warriors have the best trade package available from a contender. A Wisemen + 7 & 14, an unprotected 2027 1st, and Jordan Poole is a treasure chest of assets that could arguably entice any franchise to send their Alpha to the Bay. To match salary, this bag of potential would need an Oubre sign and trade or the Wiggins contract attach.

It is hard to gauge Portland’s perspective, as they have been rumored to CJ trades every year and never are able to execute the deal. And as good as Lillard is, for those who have actually watched the two-way play of Andrew Wiggins and the development of young Jordan Poole who averaged north of 20 after coming back from the G League, Wiggins and Poole alone for Lillard may be more a lateral move than it looks on paper. Especially with Poole’s size and fit, Wisemen plus lottery picks, Poole, and Wiggins for a 1-way guard, regardless of how good he is, is an odd route towards building a title team.

LaVine

A player whose future is still unclear in Chicago is first-time all-star Zack LaVine. It has been recently reported that he may not sign his max extension and bet on himself in free agency. With his value on the trade market, it is likely the Warriors could send the same trade package minus Jordan Poole to execute the deal. Chicago would probably be a team interested in gambling on Kelly Oubre in the soft rebuild they would start if they decided to move of LaVine and build around 1st team all-rookie Patrick Williams.

With LaVine only making 19, less than half of Dame’s 41, creates a substantial amount of flexibility for Golden State in the upcoming season. From Chicago’s move for Vucevic at the trade deadline, it is unlikely it is what they want, however, if LaVine cannot give a definitive answer about his future moving forward in Chicago, this package would undoubtedly the best treasure chest available for a quick rebuild route. Wisemen and Patrick Williams could develop into a tier 1 frontcourt, and Eric Pascal has shown flashes of being a starting-caliber rotation forward. The addition of Thaddeus Young and his contract allows for more young assets to be sent in the direction of Chicago, while Golden State unloads their draft stock and young players for a title push for the here and now.

Conclusion

In my opinion, with the questionable fits, and the hesitation for Chicago or Portland to rebuild, it is doubtful either deal comes to fruition. However, if the Warriors desire to dump their assets for a top-tier guard, at LaVine’s size and age, with regards to value, the Chicago route’s logic appears to be a sounder gamble for Golden State especially if allows them to keep their microwave scorer off the bench in Jordan Poole. For Chicago, if LaVine does not at the very least give a verbal agreement that he sees his future with the Bulls long-term, it would be foolish for them not to move him while he is still on a favorable contract.

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