Despite missing the NBA playoffs last season, the Portland Trail Blazers have been the talk of the NBA for two reasons in particular: Scoot Henderson and Damian Lillard.
The Blazers chose to go with the youth movement, as Henderson will now be the face of the franchise moving forward, which didn’t sit well with Lillard, who wants to compete for a championship now that he’s reaching his mid-30s.
As if that was bad enough, Portland signed Jerami Grant to a massive contract in NBA free agency, which locks him up for the next five seasons.
The team is headed in another direction, and now Lillard wants out, with his two preferred destinations being the Brooklyn Nets and Miami Heat.
Although Lillard wants to head to the East Coast, the Blazers have let it be known that the team is committed to winning and will do the best deal for the roster and not for their soon-to-be former superstar, with the team’s general manager saying the following via Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Blazers’ Joe Cronin: “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. 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.”
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 1, 2023
With the team coming out and making this statement, Lillard might not end up where he wants to, even though he has been the consummate professional in Portland and sacrificed for the franchise.
That’s a pretty brutal way to go for the Blazers, but it is a business, and the team can’t be totally blamed for wanting to get equal value for one of the best guards in the league.
It’ll be interesting to see where Lillard ultimately ends up and what impact that will have on the league.NEXT: Stephen A. Smith Reacts To Damian Lillard's Trade Request