Did Blazers Superstar Damian Lillard Sit Out Final Ten Games To Help Team Tank For Better Pick? Fallout From Massive Trade Begins

Now that former Portland Trail Blazers superstar and longtime franchise player Damian Lillard has been traded to the Milwaukee Bucks, their rocky ending is beginning to unfold. In many ways the gloves are off and Lillard isn’t holding back on what the team did at the end of last season as they attempted to tank for a higher draft pick. That was supposed to be used to help land a veteran star player to help Lillard. 

Even though the team landed the No. 2 pick, it wasn’t used to trade for a veteran player, as the team chose point guard Scoot Henderson. That move didn’t sit well with Lillard who quickly began to show signs of wanting out. The former Weber State star even went on a podcast and said he wanted to be traded to the Miami Heat. After months of back-and-forth the Blazers and Heat could never agree on a deal to move Lillard, and the Bucks swooped in and took Dame Dolla.  

Lillard Faked Injury To Help Team Tank?

Tanking is customary in the NBA, and while teams act is if they’re not doing it, they do it with the hope of a better chance at a higher pick. That’s what the Blazers did at the end of last season by asking Lillard to sit the final 10 games of the season. Per Chris Haynes of the NBA on TNT and Bleacher Report, Lillard attempted to rescind his trade request, but GM Joe Corbin told him that there was “no coming back.”

Haynes also reported this;

“According to sources, Portland had asked Lillard to sit out the final ten games of the 2022-23 regular season to help the franchise improve its lottery odds. He was told the higher the draft pick, the better chance they had at using the pick to facilitate a trade for a proven veteran player. He reluctantly acquiesced to being shut down, citing a calf injury. 

Portland went 1-9 to finish the season and would go on to win the No. 3 pick and select Scoot Henderson, a promising young point guard the team planned to keep.”

Tanking is frowned upon in the NBA, and this bombshell of a report could have ramifications for the Blazers. The Mavericks were just fined $750,000 last season for tanking the final two games of the season in hopes of landing a better draft position. 

Lillard In Milwaukee Equals Championship Or Bust

After being traded to Milwaukee, Lillard now plays with Giannis Antetokounmpo, the two-time MVP, one-time Finals MVP and one-time DPOY. The “Greek Freak” is easily the best player he’s played with, and Lillard will be the best that Antetokounmpo has partnered with. 

When you pair two of the ten best players in the league together, that brings extra added pressure to win a championship, and that’s what the two superstars hope to do. 

While Giannis has been to the mountaintop, Lillard is still trying to get there, and this will likely be his last opportunity to do so. 

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