It’s Heat-Or-Bust For Damian Lillard As Blazers Star Guard Finally Asks For Trade From Portland In Search Of His First Superteam Experience

Over the weekend it was announced that Portland Trail Blazers superstar Damian Lillard has requested a trade.

After 11 seasons and numerous individual accolades but not much postseason success, the seven-time All-Star and NBA75 member wants out of the Pacific Northwest. As news broke of Lillard’s request the team released a statement on the matter. 

“We’ve been clear that we want Dame here but he notified us today he wants and would prefer to play somewhere else,” Portland general manager Joe Cronin said in a team statement on Saturday. “What has not changed for us is that we’re committed to winning, and we are going to do what’s best for the team in pursuit of that goal.”

Lillard’s request reverses his longtime position that he’d like to stay and try to win a championship in Portland. But with Western Conference teams adding pieces and getting stronger, the Blazers and their talented but extremely young roster are not ready to compete for a title. It’s time for Dame to try somewhere else, as the ship has sailed in Portland. 

Dame Has Been Blunt About It, He Prefers To Play In South Beach

Lillard hasn’t been shy about where he wants to go, and that’s South Beach, where he’d join the Miami Heat and good friends Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler. During an appearance last month on Showtime’s “Last Stand” podcast, Dame was asked where he could see himself playing if not in Portland, and he let it be known that Miami is pretty much it for him. 

“Miami, obviously,” Lillard said. “Miami is the obvious one, and Bam Adebayo is my dawg. Bam is my dawg for real. Miami is the obvious one.”

According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, it’s Heat-or-bust for Lillard. 

“He wants to compete with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, to grow inside that famed ‘Heat culture system’ under Pat Riley and Erik Spoelstra while becoming the final piece of this championship puzzle,” Amick wrote.

Time For The Blazers Youth Movement Under Chauncey Billups

The Blazers not trading their 2023 pick, which was No. 3 overall, to get Lillard some much needed help sort of indicated that he’d be dealt at some point. The team instead drafted the supremely talented Scoot Henderson to be their future point guard. He, along with sharpshooter Anfernee Simons and second-year pro Shaeden Sharpe, signal a changing of the guard in Portland. 

Trading Lillard would also do wonders for head coach Chauncey Billups. He’ll now be evaluated on how he can develop a young team, instead of a patchwork roster trying to capitalize on Lillard’s prime and greatness. 

While other teams will definitely take a flier on Lillard, the dynamic scoring guard from Weber State has set his heart on getting to South Beach. But without a no-trade clause his leverage is slim-to-none.

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