Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers warms up before taking on the Miami Heat (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Just yesterday, multiple sources reported that Damian Lillard was close to requesting a trade from the Trailblazers. Henry Abbott of TrueHoop was the first to report it.
Abbott Tweeted out, “Blazers star Damian Lillard to request trade in the days to come.” This claim was followed up by many others claiming they had sources telling them the same news.
Barry Bondz, an American rapper, Tweeted out that sources told him that “Damian Lillard has officially requested a trade from the Portland Trailblazers.” He listed the Knicks, Lakers, 76ers, and Warriors as Lillard’s top choices of teams to be traded to.
Bondz later reported that the Bucks and Celtics could also be in the mix for the superstar. Evan Massey of NBA Analysis Network also doubled down on the New York Knicks and Miami Heat being top choices.
Despite all this news, Lillard himself made a statement following Team USA’s practice on Friday. He stated that the rumors he had requested a trade are not true.
Lillard went on to talk about how he has “not made any firm decision on what his future will be,” and that he wants to be a Blazer for life. He said his ultimate goal is to win a championship for Portland, but that they “have to be making strides to do that.”
While this may seem like a trade is unlikely, it’s not uncommon for star players to say one thing and do another. He told the team “to be more urgent” and that he doesn’t believe that they are “a championship team with a new coach.”
Lillard supposedly met with head coach Chauncey Billups and general manager Neil Olshey in Las Vegas. If they fail to build a championship team around Lillard, there’s always a chance he asks to leave.
The Miami Heat should be on the phone immediately if Lillard requests a trade. A package built around Tyler Herro and numerous picks could be enough to sway Portland, depending on what other offers they receive.
If Lillard were to join the Miami Heat, a big three of him, Jimmy Butler, and Bam Adebayo would be one of the best in the league. They would have enough talent to compete for a championship right away.
Obviously, if they were on Lillard’s shortlist that would also help. He and the Trailblazers have had a great relationship over the years, so the organization would likely meet his wishes if he does choose to leave.
No matter what happens, Pat Riley and the Miami Heat are surely monitoring the situation. It will be very interesting to see how everything plays out.