NBA Trade Rumors: Why the LA Lakers will not be able to sign an unsettled Damian Lillard this season?

NBA Trade Rumors: Reports of Damian Lillard trade- Lillard is unhappy with the Portland Trail Blazers and those rumors have been flying around for a while now. However, with many teams wanting his signature, it does not seem like he would end up at the LA Lakers.

Both the Lakers and the Trail Blazers had a turbulent post-season. The Lakers were knocked out in the first round by the Suns after somehow making it into the NBA Playoffs 2021 with an injured LeBron and Anthony Davis.

The Trail Blazers were knocked out by the Denver Nuggets in Game 6 despite Lillard putting up atrocious numbers in the entire series. He even broke the record for the number of 3s in the NBA post-season.

While the Los Angeles Lakers have been known to land unhappy stars. From Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Shaquille O’Neal now to Anthony Davis, it’s obvious why the Lakers fans could expect Damian Lillard to follow these big names.

NBA Trade Rumors: Why the LA Lakers will not be able to sign an unsettled Damian Lillard this season?

Los Angeles Lakers do not have enough first-round draft picks

The Lakers have only two tradeable first-round draft picks.

For context, in acquiring Harden, the Houston Rockets acquired three first-round picks (2022, 2024, 2026) and four possible pick swaps in addition to players.

Even Jrue Holiday was traded for two players (Steven Adams, Eric Bledsoe), two first-round picks, and two pick swaps. The Lakers can not even offer swaps, because their future first-rounders are already subject to swaps themselves.

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Damian Lillard’s salary

Damian Lillard is making $39.3 million in salary next season on his max contract that runs through 2025.

Damian Lillard Upcoming Contract Extension
YEAR AGE BASE SALARY CAP HIT DEAD YEARLY CASH
2021-22 Contract details by year 31 $39,344,900 $39,344,900 $39,344,900 $39,344,900($39,344,900)
2022-23 Contract details by year 32 $42,492,492 $42,492,492 $42,492,492 $42,492,492($81,837,392)
2023-24 Contract details by year 33 $45,640,084 $45,640,084 $45,640,084 $45,640,084($127,477,476)
2024-25 Contract details by year 34 $48,787,676 $48,787,676 $48,787,676 $48,787,676($176,265,152)

 

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To pull off an NBA trade, the Lakers have to match salary within a small range: They can take back 125% of the salary they send out. For Lillard, this means they’d have to trade out $31.4 million; for Simmons, it’d be $24.5 million. Hence, for the Lakers, finding the right and realistic trade for Lillard, an All-NBA point guard, is pretty much impossible.

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