NBA Trade Rumors: 76ers have sights set on Damian Lillard
The 2021 NBA Draft is just over a week away, and trade wins are blowing steadily around the league. As teams leverage draft position, future picks, and existing capital, the influx of new talent acts much like a tributary into a river, stirring up the waters underneath and bringing large fish to feed.
As the big day nears, let’s take a look at some of the most intriguing trade rumors to watch this week.
Al-Farouq Aminu could give a team a boost
Al-Farouq Aminu played in only six games with the Chicago Bulls this year after being traded from the Orlando Magic, but he remains a valuable commodity. Set to make just over $10 million and with just a year-left on his deal, he has a contract that might be appealing to a team looking to start fresh.
The Bulls clearly have no interest in utilizing the once-athletic wingman especially with the acquisition of Patrick Williams in last year’s draft, but if he can recover fully from injuries that have plagued him in recent years, someone might be willing to give him a one-year tryout with an expiring contract limiting their long-term exposure if things don’t work out.
Get used to hearing Andrew Wiggins' name in trade talks
The Golden State Warriors brought in former first overall pick Andrew Wiggins during the 2019-20 season, and while he achieved his highest field goal and 3-point percentages as a professional the following year, he also saw his fewest minutes per game. Golden State will have Klay Thompson back this upcoming season, and Wiggins could be a critical trade piece if the Warriors hope to make a deep postseason run.
Plenty of teams would benefit from Wiggins' services, and he will be an appealing trade piece for the Warriors to dangle in pursuit of another superstar. look for the 26-year-old to be shopped extensively around the league.
Eric Bledsoe is as good as gone in NOLA
The New Orleans Pelicans brought in Eric Bledsoe and Steven Adams to pair with young superstar Zion Williamson. With Brandon Ingram also on the roster, the Pels looked like they had an enviable combination of talent, strength, youth, and experience. Unfortunately it wasn't the right combination, as they failed to make the playoffs and were 23rd in the league in defensive efficiency.
If the Pelicans are going to keep Williamson happy, they have to make accommodations that present a sense of evolution. To this end, they will likely look to part ways with either Bledsoe or Adams. Bledsoe contributed just 12.2 points and 3.8 assists per game, his lowest marks since the 2012-13 season. Bledsoe has the second highest salary on the team, and surely does not fit into long-term plans with the Pelicans’ young core. The biggest struggle for the Pelicans will be finding a suitor for the highly paid veteran.
Damian Lillard is eyeing Philadelphia
Damian Lillard looks to be on his way out of Portland and, according to recent reports, he is interested in heading to Philadelphia. The Trail Blazers have parted ways with Lillard’s longtime coach, Terry Stotts, and simply don’t have the look of a championship-caliber roster.
While the Golden State Warriors seemed like one of the likely destinations for Lillard due to his West Coast roots, the latest news is his interest in the City of Brotherly Love. If Lillard were to join forces with Sixers center Joel Embiid, they would certainly keep Philly at the forefront of Eastern Conference championship contention. Stay tuned for more updates!