Damian Lillard ‘was not thrilled’ Blazers chose not to trade for Hawks star

Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks. (Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images) /

We can’t always get what we want and that appears to be the case with regards to one Atlanta Hawks star who was on the short list of preferred options for Damian Lillard ahead of the 2022 NBA Draft.

Portland held on to the No. 7 overall pick, taking explosive guard Shaedon Sharpe.

“Dame was not thrilled that thrilled that night when they did that,” reported Rose Garden Report’s Sean Highkin on ‘The Athletic NBA Show’ on May 20. “He would have preferred if they had traded the pick for [Toronto Raptors forward OG Anunoby] or John Collins or whoever else they were talking about.”

Collins was “frequently mentioned” in connection to Portland last offseason, per Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer.

To his credit, Sharpe won Lillard over, per Highkin. Portland had also traded for Jerami Grant who also plays power forward which figures to have weight some in their decision making, though both Grant and Collins offer some positional versatility.

With the 2023 NBA Draft set to take place on June 22 and the Blazers holding the No. 3 overall pick, speculation over what Portland will do has come into the spotlight. It is a similar story for the Hawks who hold the No. 15 overall selection this year. Collins’ name has been floated in trade rumors for the better part of the last three years.

Even though he is signed through 2026 on a five-year, $125 million contract, teams such as the Brooklyn Nets and New Orleans Pelicans have all been linked to the former No. 19 overall pick (2017). And Hawks general manager Landry Fields has suggested that no one is “untouchable”

But Fields also made it clear that the Hawks are far from giving up on the longest-tenured player on the roster.

Collins, 26, is coming off of his worst season as an established pro, averaging 13.1 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists, and 1.1 blocks during the regular season but the most damning development for Collins was his regression shooting. A career 35.6% shooter from beyond the arc, Collins hit just 32.9% of his deep looks this past season.

His best season came in 2019-20 when Collins averaged 21.6 points and 10.1 boards with 1.6 blocks and 1.5 assists.

Fans to have a chance at meeting Trae Young during Las Vegas Summer League

“The league unveiled plans Thursday for a three-day event called NBA Con,” reported ESPN and the Associate Press on May 18. Fans will have the opportunity to meet and interact with current and past players, with the list of commitments for this year including…Trae Young.”

Other commitments for the festivities slated for July 7 through July 9 include Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, projected top picks Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson, and current players Mike Conley of the Utah Jazz, CJ McCollum of the Pelicans, and Indiana Pacers star Tyrese Haliburton.

For Young, it will help culminate an offseason that has seen him be an active viewer of these playoffs, most recently giving a shoutout to Denver Nuggets guard Bruce Brown.

Brown recorded 12 points, five rebounds, three assists, one block, and one steal in the Nuggets’ Game 2 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on May 18 to help take a 2-0 lead in the Western Conference Finals.

Next. The dream scenario for the Hawks’ starting lineup. dark

The Hawks star is surely just plotting a return to the NBA’s penultimate stage next season and, hopefully for the Hawks, going even further than they did in 2021.