Stephen A. Smith: Lillard’s “number one choice would be the New York Knicks” If he were to leave Portland

MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN - JULY 11: ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith during Game Three of the NBA Finals between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Phoenix Suns at Fiserv Forum on July 11, 2021 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images)
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Damian Lillard was recently reported to be on the verge of a trade request to leave Portland. This ended up being untrue, and now it sounds like Portland will keep their core together for at least one more season. Despite that, it now seems less concrete that Lillard will be a blazer for life. Stephen A. Smith recently reported that New York would be at the top of his list if Lillard were ever to leave.

"If Damian Lillard were to ever want to leave Portland, his number one choice would be the New York Knicks. I'm telling you what I know, I'm not guessing."Stephen A. Smith

He went on to stress that this isn't necessarily going to happen. Simply that New York would be his top destination. He mentioned this in the context of future moves by the New York Knicks. In the past, the Knicks have been too prone to going all-in on a star. Players like Carmelo Anthony were good but not good enough to lead them to a title. But it seems like in Stephen A.'s opinion, Damian Lillard is good enough.

In his opinion, if Lillard became available, he's worth a big trade package. Other players, though, maybe not. Stephen A. thinks that it's important that the Knicks keep growing more organically, taking baby steps. Unless, of course, a player of Lillard's caliber becomes available.

"If you're that New York Knicks, and you're talking about mortgaging the farm. Meaning giving up some of your young players or some picks, that's [Damian Lillard] who you do it for. You don't do it for anybody else other than a superstar of his caliber."Stephen A. Smith

What the Knicks will do from here will be interesting. Stephen A. suggests patience: making small moves for small improvements and waiting for a superstar. But there's a chance the superstar will never become available. Because of this, the Knicks' path forward won't be easy.

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