Golden State Warriors

Report: Warriors have pondered trading for Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard

It’s everyone’s favorite game in the Bay Area this NBA offseason: what could the Golden State Warriors possibly receive if they trade center James Wiseman, their two lottery picks and forward Andrew Wiggins?

And the big fish — if he’s even available via trade — is Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard. Could the Warriors go all-in and acquire Lillard, one of the NBA’s best players? His game is awfully similar to Warriors superstar Stephen Curry. Would it work? On offense, sure. But could Golden State’s defense thrive with two small, offensive-minded guards?

According to The Athletic’s Anthony Slater, the Warriors front office has already discussed the possibility internally. Here’s part of his report, part of a larger piece on potential landing spots for Lillard if Portland decides to move on from the Oakland native.

Would the Warriors be willing to give up the full boat for Lillard? It’s an odd fit next to Stephen Curry. They’d make offensive magic, combining with Klay Thompson to form probably the greatest shooting trio we have or ever will see. Defense? That’s putting a whooooole lot of pressure on Klay, easing back into the lineup after two devastating leg injuries.

I still think they’d pull the trigger if it reached the final stages. You gather that type of shooting talent together in 2021 and then solve the defensive answers with veteran free agents and buyout options, just like the Nets did after acquiring James Harden.

Anthony Slater/The Athletic

I have serious reservations about Klay Thompson playing small forward in this potential lineup, for the reason Slater suggests. And even if he’s fully healthy, moving Thompson to the frontcourt could neutralize his All-Star quality defense. Plus, Slater says Golden State would likely throw in a number of future first-round picks in this proposed scenario.

But the possibilities on offense are fascinating. And as Slater points out, Warriors general manager Bob Myers could sort out the defensive issues later.

Golden State has a while to go before they face such a decision, if that moment ever occurs at all. I’m a proponent of keeping Wiseman, Wiggins and the draft picks and placing Thompson back at his shooting guard spot. Still, if the Warriors can acquire Lillard, it’s certainly no stretch to say they’d pull the trigger and let the 3-point shot reign as we’ve perhaps never seen before.

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