Damian Lillard turned some heads when he showed up to Game 3 in Brooklyn between the Nets and Philadelphia 76ers. Cam Johnson and Mikal Bridges were a bit coy about it when it came up during their end-of-the-year media availability and now it seems the rumor machine is starting to churn again.
Bridges briefly hopped on Lillard’s Instagram live on Sunday night to troll the Portland point guard. However short the interaction was on the social media platform, it will add to the thought that Lillard will be in Brooklyn next season.
Lillard has not been shy about expressing affinity for Bridges’ game over the years. He has named him on several occasions when asked about guys he’d want to play with or that he’s a fan of.
He told Yahoo Sports in 2021 that “Cam Johnson is nice and Mikal Bridges is my favorite small forward in the league.” He reiterated that he’s a fan of Bridges during an appearance on an ESPN broadcast with Stephen A. Smith last month.
An NBA executive told HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto last month that the Nets could be a suitor for Bridges if the two sides part ways. However, it’s still unclear what direction the Trail Blazers are going to go. With the third overall pick in next month’s draft, the Trail Blazers could very well opt to deal the pick in order to bring in help for Bridges and avoid a rebuild.
The Trail Blazers’ all-time leading scorer has been clear that he has no interest in going through a rebuild again. But as with anything with the NBA, reports have been conflicting about the availability of the pick and thus what could happen with Lillard.
Lillard would certainly help take the Nets in the right direction after an odd few years in Kings County as the team went all in on the superstar era only for it to come crashing down. General manager Sean Marks managed to salvage things a bit this year adding some solid pieces in deals that sent Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving elsewhere.
Bridges was part of the Durant deal and quickly became a star for the Nets. His presence on the team going forward has certainly made Brooklyn a place that Lillard could want to come to.
Lillard is coming off a season in which he put up a career-high 32.2 points per game and was named third-team All-NBA. Still, there is a question of how much does the veteran superstar have left in the tank as well as how quickly do the Nets want to jump back into the superstar business after everything that happened with Durant, Irving and James Harden.