On Tuesday, Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard was asked what advice he would give Oklahoma City Thunder star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, amid the latest NBA trade rumors floating around.
“The grass isn’t always greener,” Lillard said. His response answers questions about his own trade rumors these past two months. For now, the 11-year veteran will remain with Portland.
According to several NBA betting sites, the Trail Blazers have the 14th-lowest odds to win the championship in 2023. A few sportsbooks offer big odds for the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Lakers.
Damian Lillard on advice for Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: “He’s in free agency. … He’s got a group of guys who understand he’s a leader, which he is. … He’s in a great place. … Say the grass isn’t always greener on the other side…” pic.twitter.com/XQbdn9VhZe
— Grant Afseth (@GrantAfseth) December 20, 2022
Damian Lillard added: “You never know what it’s going to look like or how the next team is going to view you, especially when you’ve had injuries like he’s had.”
“You just don’t know. Also, I tell a lot of people who say ‘let it go’, they are not people who live with the consequences if all these things or other things fail. They don’t need to walk in his shoes.
Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard believes rising star Shai Gilgeous-Alexander would be better off staying with the Thunder
Gilgeous-Alexander should focus only on the things he can control. With 28 starts this season, the fifth-year player is tied for a career high. He is averaging 31.3 points, 4.6 rebounds, 5.8 assists, 1.7 steals and 1.0 blocks per game. Additionally, the guard shot 50.1% from the floor and 34.5% from beyond the arc.
In addition, Gilgeous-Alexander ranks third in points (877), 19th in assists (163), sixth in steals (47), third in field goals made (291), second in 2-point field goals made (262), and sixth in steals. Efficiency level (27.3%). Lillard has never been off the trail for the Blazers, but he still puts up good points.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander made a 5-point layup in the final seconds of the game.
That’s more than anyone has managed in a single season in the last 10 years.
And he only has 28 games in the season! 🤯 pic.twitter.com/4Rx7gRagSJ
— Basketball Forever (@bballforever_) December 21, 2022
Not to mention, the Thunder guard leads the NBA in free throw percentage (93.3%) and free throw attempts (266). On November 16, the 24-year-old scored a career-high 42 points in Oklahoma City’s 121-120 win over the Washington Wizards. Imagine SGA on a team like the Trail Blazers with Lillard. It can happen years later.
Last August, the Kentucky native signed a five-year, $173 million contract extension with Oklahoma City. Also, since Gilgeous-Alexander is the betting favorite to win the NBA’s Improved Player of the Year this season, it would be a dumb move for Thunder GM Sam Presti to trade him.
With Chet Holmgren back healthy next year, the 2023-24 season will show whether or not trading SGA makes sense. Oklahoma City has a perfect opportunity to build something special around Holgren and Gilgeous-Alexander. Trading a superior player will ruin it.