Damian Lillard is throwing in the towel in Portland — the guy just requested a trade from his longtime team, the Trailblazers, and word is … he wants to go southeast.
News broke Saturday that the PG asked Portland brass for a one-way ticket out of the franchise, and per NBA insider Shams Charania — he’s angling for a deal to be made with the Miami Heat specifically. Woj is reporting the Blazers will try to accommodate him.
Now, while Dame has apparently made his desired landing spot clear … what remains to be seen is if he actually ends up going there. Woj is also reporting that other interested parties include the Clippers and 76ers … that the Blazers will get as much as they can for DL.
In other words, if the Heat turn out to be a team that can’t give them the most bang for their buck (draft picks/young players) … they’ll go elsewhere, and Dame could end up back in the west again, despite a reported interest in moving to the East Coast. Business 101.
Now, while a lot of Blazers fans are lamenting losing the bona fide face of the franchise — who’s been incredibly loyal to Portland for years now — this is actually a move many anticipated in the wake of the team drafting Scoot Henderson recently … an up-and-coming point guard who has a lot of potential and who the Blazers clearly want to replace Dame.
Many took that pick as a not-so-subtle message to Dame … namely, it’s time for you to go big dawg. For a minute, there was an unspoken game of chicken going on as to who’d blink first. As it turns out, Dame pulled the trigger and got the message — time to move on.
Another element at play here that’s made it difficult for the Blazers to sign other good players over the years is the fact that he signed a cash-rich supermax deal with the team a few years ago … and while he’s said he was dedicated to bringing them a championship, the reality is — that was likely never going to happen with their salary cap issues.
All that fealty, and now … it’s over. The end of an era in the PNW!