Damian Lillard Requests a Trade from Trail Blazers: How They Got Here and Where They Go
Lillard wants to be in Miami. The Blazers want to make the best deal they can. Where does it land?
When Damian Lillard and his agent, Aaron Goodwin, met Monday with Trail Blazers general manager Joe Cronin to discuss the direction of the franchise, many assumed the end result would be a trade request.
It didn't come that day, and for a short time, it seemed it never would. At the very least, Lillard would give Cronin one more chance to make meaningful improvements to the roster in the first 24 hours of free agency to make it up to him for the decision to take another point guard, Scoot Henderson, with the No. 3 overall pick in last week's draft.
Those additions did not happen, and the decision to hold off earlier in the week turned out to be only a delaying of the inevitable.
Word of Lillard's trade request came down Saturday morning, with Turner Sports' Chris Haynes first breaking the news as expected.
Quickly, focus turned to Miami and Brooklyn, the two teams Lillard has long been rumored to hold as his preferred landing spots. Other teams—the Sixers, Clippers, Knicks, Jazz and Spurs—have come up as hypotheticals, but it's now understood that Miami is where Lillard wants to be.
Usually, stars on his level get what they want, and get where they want. Maybe that will happen again this time. Right now, the Blazers are at least putting up the appearance that they'll be fielding other offers.
"We have been clear that we want Dame here but he notified us today he wants out and he’d prefer to play someplace else," Cronin said in a statement on Saturday afternoon. "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 will almost certainly be elsewhere when training camp opens in September. The deal could happen tomorrow, or it could drag out into August as these things tend to do when the team with the disgruntled superstar doesn't get an offer they like.
There will be plenty of time this summer to unpack Lillard's 11 unforgettable years in Portland, everything he's meant to the organization, city and fanbase. But the reality at hand must be dealt with first.
How Lillard and the Blazers got here is nuanced and multi-layered, as any breakup of a marriage that's lasted this long will be. Where things end up is equally tricky.