Celtics

Celtics rank outside of top 5 for betting favorites to land Damian Lillard

Lillard has been the center of trade rumors in recent weeks.

Damian Lillard Celtics
Damian Lillard could be the latest star to get traded. Steve Dykes/AP

Damian Lillard was the center of attention in the NBA on Friday.

The Blazers star point guard was the subject of rumors that suggested he wanted out of Portland, which Lillard later denied during USA Basketball media availability. While he denied the rumors, Lillard did apply some pressure on the Blazers to do more to help the team win a title.

Even though Lillard said he doesn’t want out from Portland, the rumors and his public comments were enough for oddsmakers to set odds on where he’ll land if he gets traded.

The Celtics are listed in the top 10, but they aren’t one of the favorites to trade for Lillard. PointsBet Sportsbook gives the Celtics the seventh-best odds to trade for Lillard at +900.

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Trading for Lillard would be tricky for many teams for a pair of reasons. First, Lillard is set to make $43.8 million next season, meaning teams over the salary cap (such as the Celtics) would have to give up roughly that much in salary. Second, Lillard’s proven to be one of the league’s best players, making an All-NBA team for the last four seasons, which would mean a trade for him would probably require giving up draft picks and enticing young players.

For the Celtics, they’d likely have to give up at least two of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Al Horford, Marcus Smart, or Tristan Thompson to make a trade work from a salary standpoint. Tatum probably wouldn’t get moved for Lillard though, considering he’s eight years younger than Lillard and arguably in the same class as him as a player.

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The Celtics could build a package around Brown, but would they want to ship their 24-year-old All-Star for the 31-year-old Lillard? Building a package around Smart probably wouldn’t be enough as the 27-year-old doesn’t offer the same upside Brown does and is set to become an unrestricted free agent in a year.

In addition to the aforementioned players, the Celtics could send also send Robert Williams, who played like a starting-caliber center in his third year, and any of the four players they’ve drafted in the first round in the last two years. The Celtics don’t have their first-round pick in the 2021 NBA Draft, but they do have it every year after.

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No matter how good the supplementary pieces are though, a Celtics trade for Lillard would likely come down to whether or not they would trade Brown as he’s the only player or piece (outside of Tatum) who’s proven to be a star at this point.

Three Eastern Conference rivals top the odds list, with the Knicks being the favorite at +200. The 76ers (+250) and the Heat (+300) aren’t far behind. The Knicks could make RJ Barrett, who they selected with the third pick in the 2019 draft, available after a good sophomore season while the 76ers could offer three-time All-Star Ben Simmons for Lillard.

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Here are the nine teams with the best odds to land Lillard, via PointsBet:

Knicks: +200

Sixers: +250

Heat: +300

Warriors: +400

Lakers: +500

Clippers: +600

Celtics: +900

Raptors/Thunder: +1000

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