The Nets have “genuine interest” in acquiring Damian Lillard if he asks the Trail Blazers for a trade, sources tell Brian Lewis of The New York Post (subscription required). During an appearance this week on Showtime’s “The Last Stand,” Lillard named Brooklyn and Miami as his preferred destinations, citing the Nets because of his friendship with Mikal Bridges.
Appearing Thursday on The Dan Patrick Show, Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report and TNT indicated that any trade speculation involving Lillard should be limited to those two teams, adding that Brooklyn may rank first on Lillard’s list. Haynes also believes the Blazers would try to honor Lillard’s wishes because of his long tenure with the franchise.
“If it gets to that point, they would consult with Dame because, you know, Dame’s been there 10 years, been a model citizen representing that city, in that organization, with class, all throughout,” Haynes said. “I think they will try to get him where he wants to go; in the East, that is, I do not see and envision a possibility that he would be traded to a Western Conference team.”
Zach Harper of The Athletic suggests that the Nets may be able to acquire Lillard without giving up Bridges or center Nic Claxton. Harper envisions a deal built around the expiring contracts of Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris, along with several of the draft picks Brooklyn accumulated by trading away James Harden, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.
There’s more from Brooklyn:
- The Nets are typically secretive about their workouts, but Emoni Bates is among the potential second-rounders the team has hosted over the past few weeks, Lewis adds. Bates was once the top-ranked recruit in the nation, but he’s been disappointing through two seasons at Memphis and Eastern Michigan. Lewis notes that Bates has been working out for several teams to try to change his reputation. Brooklyn holds the 51st pick, along with a pair of first-rounders.
- Corey Vinson, who worked with Bridges in Phoenix, has joined the Nets as an assistant coach for player development, according to a Nets Daily article. He becomes the seventh assistant on Jacque Vaughn‘s staff.
- Brooklyn has seen a lot of coaching turnover since Vaughn replaced Steve Nash in November, Lewis writes in another New York Post story. The organization has shifted its focus from winning with a team of star players to trying to develop young talent.