3 dream trade candidates the Lakers probably can’t afford

Damian Lillard trade

Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Los Angeles Lakers fanbase can dream all they want about landing these three players in a trade, but they are probably not happening.

The Los Angeles Lakers‘ plans to repeat as champions were dashed in the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs, courtesy of the Phoenix Suns. As it turns out, the lack of scoring and losing Anthony Davis to injury did the Lakers in against a really good Suns team. With an important offseason on the horizon, the Lakers have some decisions to make. Not only do they have 11 players hitting free agency, but the team can explore the trade block if need be.

The Lakers fanbase, like any other fanbase, are shooting for the stars, literally and figuratively. However, these three dream trade candidates are probably too expensive for the Lakers to afford.

Damian Lillard

Once the Portland Trail Blazers were eliminated in the first round by the Denver Nuggets, everyone was talking about Damian Lillard, who dropped 55 points and made two game-tying shots in Game 5 but still ended up losing that contest and eventually the series. There are plenty of questions left to be answered in Portland, as the team needs a new head coach following Terry Stotts’ firing. There is the potential of overhauling the roster to bring in more help for Lillard to become top-tier contenders in the Western Conference.

But what about Lillard hypothetically forcing his way out? If he were to do so (which does not appear to be in the cards right now), you can pretty much rule out the Lakers.

After averaging 28.8 points, 7.5 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game while shooting 45.1 percent from the field and 39.1 percent from 3-point range this season, Lillard’s five-year, $139 million contract officially expired. Now, his four-year, $176 million supermax extension kicks in, where he is set to make $39.3 million in base salary for the 2021-22 season.

With LeBron James on the books for $41.2 million, Davis making $35.4 million next season and not many other contracts on the books at the moment, that should all but end talks about Lillard becoming a member of the Lakers.