The New Orleans Pelicans have been involved in swirling trade rumors relating to Damian Lillard over the last few days, though at this point there is plenty of smoke but no fire.
Lillard is reportedly unhappy with the direction the Trail Blazers are heading and recent controversy over their hire of Chauncey Billups probably hasn’t helped.
I still find it hard to believe that the Trail Blazers would trade their franchise icon, but if they did, he’d be the perfect fit with Zion Williamson.
Lillard still has four years left on his deal, but is the type of superstar player who would likely get some say on where he was traded, and just because he has played for one smaller market team in Portland doesn’t mean he’d want to join another one in New Orleans, especially considering they don’t even have a head coach.
Charles Lee is one of the names that keeps getting mentioned now that Jacque Vaughn has pulled his name from contention, but if the Pelicans really want to try and lure Damian Lillard to the Big Easy, there is an obvious choice.
New Orleans Pelicans: David Vanterpool could help land Damian Lillard
David Vanterpool is a long time NBA assistant coach who most recently worked for the Timberwolves and is a guy many think is due for a shot at the top job.
Count Lillard and teammate CJ McCollum on that list, as Vanterpool was an assistant in Portland for seven years and the two gave him a lot of credit for their development.
When Vanterpool was not hired for the Minnesota job, both Lillard and McCollum spoke out:
Lillard in particular was very adamant about how Vanterpool helped him as a player and has been a big advocate of him getting a head coaching job in the NBA.
Vanterpool has many of the qualities the Pelicans should be looking for in their next head coach, as he is young, known as a good communicator and teacher and has a track record of success.
He also happens to be Damian Lillard’s favorite coach, so if the Pelicans wanted to trade for Lillard, it would be good to have a guy he likes on board.
Of course, the Pelicans are not going to hire a guy just for that purpose, but Vanterpool is a qualified candidate who deserves a shot either way.