One of the headlines of the 2023 NBA offseason has been Damian Lillard’s trade request. After 12 seasons with the Portland Trail Blazers, the talented point guard would like to pursue an NBA championship somewhere.
As he has stated on numerous occasions, he would prefer to be traded to the Miami Heat.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Lillard has informed other teams of his intentions. He claims that, while the Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics are both interested in Lillard, he would say “resoundingly no” to joining either franchise.
Having said that, Lillard has minimal leverage in this situation. He does not have a no-trade clause like Bradley Beal, which might compel him to play in his preferred location. The Trail Blazers ultimately determine where Lillard goes and what package they receive in exchange.
Nonetheless, by playing 12 seasons for the team and becoming probably the greatest player in franchise history, Lillard has earned the respect of the Portland franchise. Because of the respect he has garnered, the front office should at least consider fulfilling his wishes.
Furthermore, it makes it much more difficult for Lillard to wind up in a Celtics or Clippers uniform. Lillard’s representation has been pushing the idea that any team other than the Heat would be willing to trade for an “unhappy player.”
Both Boston and Los Angeles might call his bluff and still pursue the superstar guard. However, both teams already have a championship core in place. Is it worth the risk of severing their core for a player who may be unhappy playing for them?
The Celtics and Clippers must decide whether to pursue Lillard further or withdraw from trade talks. It’s worth mentioning that Dame has been one of the league’s most devoted players, having spent 12 seasons with the same team.
The only thing he lacks is a championship. If either Boston or Los Angeles can bring him closer to a championship, he may become loyal to either team.