How Danny Ainge could land one more shot on Pat Riley with Damian Lillard

Utah Jazz CEO Danny Ainge (Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports)
Utah Jazz CEO Danny Ainge (Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports) /

Could Danny Ainge land one more shot on Pat Riley thanks to Damian Lillard? 

The rivalry between Pat Riley and Danny Ainge has been well-documented. From the Los Angeles Lakers to the Boston Celtics to the New York Knicks to the Miami Heat and, now, to the Utah Jazz, there hasn’t been much good blood between Riley and Ainge.

But as both approach what could likely be the final acts of their respective illustrious careers, there’s one more opportunity for Ainge to stick it to Riley. With Riley and the Heat focused on prying Damian Lillard away from the Portland Trail Blazers in an attempt to land the final piece of their championship puzzle, there’s a chance that Ainge (and the Jazz) can throw a huge wrench in all that.

Last summer, when the Jazz was forced to trade Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, they were quickly thrown into a rebuild. However, they were also gifted with a bevy of young assets and future draft capital.

They could now use that draft capital to make a strong offer for the Blazers for Lillard.

Whether or not the Jazz would actually do that remains to be seen. What we do know, though, is that according to a recent report, Utah has expressed interest in Lillard. Whether or not they have actually made an official offer remains to be seen.

However, it’s hard not to look at the current circumstances and not view this as a potential opportunity for Ainge (and the Jazz) to stick it one more time to Riley (and the Heat).

The Utah Jazz trading for Damian Lillard seems highly unlikely

That said, it would be highly unlikely if the Jazz actually made the move for Lillard. For one, he doesn’t match their timeline. The Jazz, for as much as their young players have flashed, don’t have another star on their roster.

Lauri Makkanen is a good player but he’s not a star just yet. He still has some proving to do. Even though Lillard and the Blazers have had a bit of a falling out when it comes to their relationship, I have a hard time believing that Portland would just trade Dame to a non-contender.

Of all the potential scenarios that could play out between now and when Lillard is actually traded, this seems the most unrealistic.

Could the Blazers trade Lillard to a non-Heat contender? Sure, that’s a potential possibility. The Jazz, though, is something that seems extremely unlikely.

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It would be quite the storyline if it actually happened, though. Ainge getting one more shot in on Riley would be amazing to see.