Warriors doubt Damian Lillard wants Bay Area return

Report: Warriors don’t think Dame wants trade to Bay Area originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

A Damian Lillard trade to the Warriors might be a dream scenario for Golden State and Dub Nation, but the team reportedly doesn’t see it happening.

The Athletic’s Marcus Thompson II reported Thursday night, citing multiple sources, that the “Warriors don’t suspect Lillard would want to come to the Bay.”

Lillard hasn’t formally requested a trade from the Portland Trail Blazers, the only team he has known, but there have been rumors that he could ask out soon.

Adding Lillard to a core of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green always has seemed unlikely, even if the thought of three of the best shooters in the league on the Warriors is enticing.

The Warriors likely would have to part with both the No. 7 and No. 14 overall picks in next week’s NBA draft, plus Andrew Wiggins, James Wiseman and possibly future draft assets. It’s unknown if that’s even enough to get the Blazers to trade Lillard to rival in the Western Conference.

The Athletic’s Anthony Slater reported on July 12 that the Warriors have “internally discussed the idea” of a trade for Lillard. Slater also wrote that his sense is Lillard wouldn’t want to play second-fiddle to Curry in Golden State’s backcourt.

Now, Curry was able to convince Kevin Durant to come to the Warriors in 2016 and that partnership worked well for three seasons, even if it took time for both superstars to get comfortable with each other on the court. Could the two-time NBA MVP talk Lillard into joining forces? Anything is possible.

Lillard hails from East Oakland, and he likely grew up dreaming of playing for the Warriors. But the team doesn’t reside in the East Bay anymore, so the 31-year-old might not have the same emotional attachment to the franchise that he once had.

Additionally, Lillard has gone on the record as saying he doesn’t want to join a superteam like other stars have done over the last decade-plus, so a trade to the Warriors would go against those words.

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But Lillard also badly wants to win an NBA championship, and barring a major roster upgrade in Portland, the Lillard-led Blazers likely have peaked.

If Lillard eventually requests a trade from the Blazers, every team with the cap space and the assets to get a deal done will come calling. The Warriors would do their homework and likely make an offer to Portland. But as NBC Sports Bay Area’s Monte Poole wrote, a union between Lillard and the Warriors is better in theory than in reality.

If they acquired Lillard, the Warriors would have a core four all in their early-to-mid 30’s and they would be sacrificing their entire future for a win-now approach.

RELATED: Warriors have fourth-best odds to land Lillard

But Thompson II also reported, citing sources, that Curry, Thompson and Green have told the Warriors’ front office to focus on pursuing an NBA championship by adding a player that can help right now, even if it means considering trading both the No. 7 and No. 14 picks in next week’s draft.

Lillard fits that bill, as does Washington Wizards All-Star shooting guard Bradley Beal, who reportedly is at the top of the Warriors’ wishlist.

But neither superstar has requested a trade from his current team, and it sounds like Lillard would have a hard time coming to the Bay Area even if he wants out of the Pacific Northwest.

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