Damian Lillard’s time with the Portland Trail Blazers appears to be coming to an end, as he has requested a trade rather than stay with a franchise for another rebuilding season.
Lillard is drawing interest from the Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets, according to The Associated Press. However, the San Antonio Spurs, who have plenty of draft capital to make a trade for the superstar guard, could also be seen as a potential landing spot for him.
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The trade request did not sit well with fans of the Trail Blazers star, who helped raise the profile of the franchise and led the team to the Western Conference Finals in 2019. However, the team ended up trading players. key, including CJ. McCollum, missing the playoffs in back-to-back years.
Lillard addressed at least one fan who mentioned those who were getting on their guard, even as the franchise couldn’t build an entire team around him.
«It’s in my blood to take the high road,» Lillard tweeted Sunday. «I’d love to know what the fans are turning on… have I fooled them (sic)? Or anyone? Tell me.»
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The Heat appear to be Lillard’s preferred destination, according to the AP, though Miami and Portland may have to find a third or fourth team to contribute to a deal.
Portland confirmed Lillard’s trade request on Saturday.
«We’ve made it clear that we want Dame here, but he notified us today that he wants out and would rather play somewhere else,» Trail Blazers general manager Joe Cronin said. «What hasn’t changed for us is that we’re committed to winning and we’re going to do what’s best for the team in pursuit of that goal.»
Portland selected Lillard with the 6th overall pick in the 2012 draft out of Weber State. He has appeared in 769 games for the Trail Blazers and averaged 25.2 points and 6.7 assists in that time.
In 58 games last season, Lillard averaged a career-high 32.2 points per game to go along with 7.3 assists.
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Lillard is a seven-time All-Star and a seven-time All-NBA First Team selection. He was appointed to the 75th–anniversary team.
Associated Press contributed to this report.