During the offseason, Portland Trail Blazers superstar Damian Lillard was spotted meeting up with LeBron James and Anthony Davis in Los Angeles. Everyone perceived the get-together as a clear indication that a Dame-to-the-Lakers trade was inevitable…
Well, according to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, we’ve all been had.
While speaking about the Lillard trade rumors on a November 5 episode of “The Mismatch Podcast,” O’Connor claimed that there are many around the league who now believe that Dame’s actions were all part of his and the Blazers’ bigger plan.
What the plan, you ask? To create leverage for the Blazers to acquire more talent to help Lillard in Portland, rather than send him away.
Here’s how O’Connor explained it:
“I’ve talked to people around the league about, from a strategic point of view, what’s happening here,. He goes from making these vague comments about, ‘yeah, I don’t know how long I’ll be here’ weeks before the season to suddenly ‘I’m all in.’ And there are front office executives around the league who think this is a strategic choice by the Blazers, Dame’s group and all that in order to create leverage for the organization because right now around the league teams just want Dame.
“They don’t want C.J. McCollum. They don’t want Jusuf Nurkić. They’re like we’re going to wait for Dame to demand a trade, especially the Philadelphia 76ers. Like [Sixers general manager Daryl Morey] is still all about waiting for Dame. In the eyes of some executives around the league, this is about creating leverage for the Blazers in order to make a move that can help the team with Damian Lillard on it.
“By committing and showing that you’re all in, in every single facet over the course of time, that diminishes or could diminish they hope, the desire from other teams to go for Damian Lillard and instead say, ‘okay, we’ll take C.J. McCollum. Okay, we’ll take this guy or that guy.’
With regards to Dame’s meet-up with LeBron and AD, O’Connor would go on to say, “There are people around the league who think it’s all coordinated in the sense that we want these things out there in order to gain leverage for the Blazers because he does want to stay.”
At the moment, Dame is still a Blazer, and no new talent has been brought in to help him. So it’s kind of tough to tell if the Blazers’ plan is failing, or if it was even part of their plan in the first place.
The Blazers currently sit in ninth place in the Western Conference standings with a record of 7-8, while the Lakers are two spots ahead of them — in seventh place with an 8-7 record. As for Lillard, he’s struggled so far this season. His 38.7 field goal percentage is the lowest of his career, while his 20.3 points per game is his lowest average since his rookie season.WANT MORE FROM TOTALPROSPORTS? FOLLOW US ON GOOGLE NEWS.