Can the New York Knicks Match This Offer for Damian Lillard?
Rumors continue to swirl surrounding Portland Trail Blazers superstar guard Damian Lillard, and the New York Knicks find themselves right in the middle of it.
The problem is, they're not alone.
Another team that continues to be mentioned in the same sentence as Dame, is the Golden State Warriors. Backed by an MVP-caliber performance from Steph Curry, the Warriors snuck into the play-in tournament in the Western Conference, and upset the Los Angeles Lakers in the first game, before bowing out of the tournament at the hands of the Memphis Grizzlies. The Warriors likely return Klay Thompson and top draft pick James Wiseman next season, but may believe they still don't have enough firepower to return to the top of the NBA pantheon.
The Knicks, meanwhile took an enormous step forward as a franchise this season, finishing as the No. 4 seed in the Eastern Conference. They lost, however, to the Atlanta Hawks, in the first round. The young core of Julius Randle, RJ Barrett and company were great during the regular season, but largely folded in the playoffs. Knicks owner James Dolan seems ready to win now (with them and the Rangers), and may be willing to part with the assets necessary to bring a star like Lillard into the mix.
The question is, can the Knicks match an offer like this?
From CBS Sports' Brad Botkin, here's what he could see the Warriors offering...
"But if the Warriors weren't able to deny the intrigue of a Curry/Lillard/Thompson flame-throwing trio, and they indeed offered the No. 7 and No. 14 pick in this year's draft, Wiseman, a future first-rounder or two and Andrew Wiggins to make the money work, it would be exceedingly difficult for Portland to find a better package to kickstart its rebuild." - Brad Botkin, CBS Sports
Those within NBA circles know that is a HAUL to give up. That said, very few players have had an impact on their team, and the league, in recent years like Dame. His presence on the court transcends your franchise, and the Warriors are well-aware of that.
Botkin went on to say that the Knicks have verbalized their willingness to part with three first round draft picks. That's all fine and good, but after the picks, what do you have left? Does RJ Barrett equal the potential of James Wiseman? Do you have to part with more young assets, like Mitchell Robinson or Immanuel Quickley?
I'm not convinced the Knicks have the young starpower to get this deal done. Unfortunately, it may take the Warriors saying "no" to making the move, before you get a real chance to bring Dame to Madison Square Garden.