On Sunday, Damian Lillard addressed his trade request for the first time since the news surfaced that he wanted to be moved from the Portland Trail Blazers. In his statement, Lillard directed his comments to supporters who are now feeling discouraged.
A sports radio presenter in Portland expressed amazement in a tweet about “the number of fans turning on Lillard today.” The seven-time All-Star and 11-year veteran of the Trail Blazers reacted to the statement with his own thoughts. According to him, Lillard chose what he called “the high road.” In addition, he has a query for those particular fans.
Lillard once stated that “It’s in my blood to take the high road,” and she meant it. “I’d appreciate it if you could let me know what fans are turning on… have I misled them? Or anyone? Fill me in.”
It’s in my blood to take the high road. I’d love to hear what fans are turning on… have I mislead them? Or anyone ? Fill me in https://t.co/rkn7irDlpo— Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) July 2, 2023
Do the supporters have a valid reason to be furious with Lillard?
On Saturday, sources confirmed to Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports that Lillard has asked to be traded out of the Portland Trail Blazers organization. His first choice would be to sign with the Miami Heat.
The Trail Blazers and their fan base have been dealt a devastating blow by the announcement, as they must now get ready for the impending departure of the franchise’s finest and most adored player since Clyde Drexler. Lillard has always maintained his allegiance to the Trail Blazers, despite the fact that the team has been unable to provide him with the supporting cast necessary to compete for an NBA title. In September of 2022, he mentioned on The Dave Pasch Podcast that he has the intention of spending the entirety of his professional life in Portland.
Lillard stated, “As long as I feel that our organization is putting their best foot forward and we’re all on the same page about doing everything that we can do to win, then I’m willing to go out swinging,” adding, “I want to win in Portland.”
Lillard has been singing this song for quite some time, despite the fact that the Trail Blazers have failed to pair him up with another All-Star player for the past eight seasons in a row. In the 2014–15 season, LaMarcus Aldridge was the final All-Star that Lillard shared the court with. It would indicate that Lillard had a positive experience while playing with the Blazers since he expressed a desire to complete his career with the team. But he wanted to do it while still having a shot at victory, which was a prospect that looked less and less possible in light of the recent Trail Blazer’s actions.
Recent draft picks for the Portland Trail Blazers, Scoot Henderson (2023), and Shaedon Sharpe (2022), demonstrate the organization’s commitment to building for the future. The Blazers have chosen to invest in players who are only 19 and 20 years old rather than surrendering those top draft assets for players who are ready to compete now. These players’ primes are still many seasons away. In the meanwhile, Lillard is at the peak of his abilities. Additionally, he is currently on the tail end of it.
And despite the fact that he seemed to be waiting out Portland’s decisions through the draft and the beginning of free agency, it became abundantly evident that the writing was on the wall. His only realistic shot at winning an NBA title will have to come from another team. There is no question that a Heat club that recently made it to the NBA Finals and features Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo is in a stronger position.
Who exactly did Lillard’mislead’?
On Sunday, Lillard inquired as to whether or not he had “misled” anyone. Even though he has constantly emphasized his dedication to the Trail Blazers, he has always included the same caveat: the franchise must be dedicated to him to achieving the goal of winning a championship. In his interview with Pasch regarding the qualifying, he made his emotions known about being “on the same page about doing everything that we can do to win.”
During a pre-draft interview in June with Showtime’s “The Last Stand” podcast, in which he also addressed rumors of a trade, he outlined his vision for a squad that would enable the Trail Blazers to compete successfully.
“I want to have the opportunity to win in Portland, and right now we’ve got an opportunity asset-wise to build a team that can compete,” Lillard said. “I want to have the opportunity to win in Portland.” “That would be the most important thing, but if we can’t do that, then obviously, as I’ve been saying for a few months now, then it’s a separate conversation that we would have to have,” added the speaker.
Lillard had reached his breaking point when the Trail Blazers were unable to turn those assets into win-now players, and it was at that moment that he initiated that “separate conversation.” And it seems increasingly likely that he will leave Portland soon.
The announcement is a terrible and emotional blow for Portland supporters since they have had the pleasure of seeing one of the most dynamic players in the NBA for the past 11 seasons. This will not be simple, and one shouldn’t have the expectation that it will be. However, any hostility displayed by fans toward Lillard is unwarranted, despite the fact that it is easy to understand why they would be offended.
Q1. What is Dame’s trading status, if any?
Lillard wants to join Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo on the Miami Heat, the defending Eastern Conference champions who advanced to the NBA Finals as the eighth seed. However, Lillard does not have a no-trade clause as Bradley Beal does. He doesn’t have a complete say over his life.