New ESPN trade proposal sees Damian Lillard dealt to Celtics WITHOUT giving up Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart or Robert Williams III

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It was not so long ago that Boston Celtics fans found themselves ensnared in trade rumors regarding Portland Trail Blazers All-Star point guard Damian Lillard, with fans debating on whether it would make sense to deal All-Star forward Jaylen Brown for the Blazers floor general, with the general consensus seeming to be that the cost of the Portland player’s contract simply being too steep to take on.

Now, just a day after reporting surfaced that Lillard had previously expressed interest in playing with Brown comes a trade proposal from ESPN that would see such a scenario play out — except that Dame would join Jaylen in Boston.

And yes, All-Star forward Jayson Tatum would still be on the team as well.

The proposal

A panel of NBA experts put together five such proposals for a Wednesday article dedicated to re-homing Lillard, and NBA Insider Kevin Pelton whipped up quite a blockbuster for Boston to ponder.

The structure on Boston’s end includes Juancho Hernangomez, Al Horford, Aaron Nesmith, Payton Pritchard, and Dennis Schroder for players.

It also includes a 2022 first-round pick, a 2024 first-round pick, a 2026 first-round pick (top-10 protected in 2026, top-4 protected for 2027, and unprotected for 2028), and a 2028 first-round pick (top-4 protected in 2028 if the previous pick conveys in 2026; it converts to 2028 second-round pick if not conveyed) for draft assets.

In return, the Celtics get Damian Lillard, CJ Elleby, Ben McLemore, Tony Snell, and Cody Zeller.

Our analysis

This deal seems unlikely to beat even some of the other hypotheticals in the article this trade appears in, and quite likely any real-world proposals as well.

Given there is a non-zero chance that the Blazers end up with three mediocre to bad firsts, a second, a rental in Schroder, a pair of untested prospects, and the bulk of the returning salary in a player — while great — who does not fit their future, we don’t expect an offer like this to be the one that wins the day.

If for some reason the Blazers said yes, the Celtics would still have three of their own first-round picks left to add talent via the draft or in trades, but likely a short window of two or maybe three years (if not less, depending on health) to maximize Lillard before decline likely sets in.

It’s not quite the risk that Brown-for-Lillard proposals might entail, but it is not a surefire jump to true contention status either — particularly if the veteran point guard does not start playing more like his usual self soon.

Ultimately, this is almost certainly not going to be a decision new team president Brad Stevens will have to make.

But in the unlikely event it was on the table, it would be hard to say no to injecting such talent into the team while retaining Boston’s core four for the future of Tatum, Brown, Marcus Smart, and Robert Williams III.

This post originally appeared on Celtics Wire. Follow us on Facebook!

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