Sports

Damian Lillard addresses concerns about trade request from Trail Blazers

Damian Lillard’s time with the Portland Trail Blazers appears to be nearing its end as he requested a trade instead of sticking with a franchise through another rebuilding season.

Lillard is generating interest from the Miami Heat and the Brooklyn Nets, according to The Associated Press. However, the San Antonio Spurs, who have a lot of draft capital to make a trade for the superstar guard, could also be seen as a potential landing spot for him.

Damian Lillard passes the ball

Damian Lillard, #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers, passes the ball during the second quarter against the Boston Celtics at the Moda Center on March 17, 2023 in Portland, Oregon. (Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

The trade request did not exactly sit well with fans of the Trail Blazers star who helped lift the profile of the franchise and got the team as far as the Western Conference Finals in 2019. However, the team ended up trading away key players, including C.J. McCollum, and missed the playoffs in back-to-back years.

Lillard addressed at least one fan who brought up those who were turning on the guard even as the franchise was not able to build a complete team around him.

“It’s in my blood to take the high road,” Lillard tweeted Sunday. “I’d love to hear what fans are turning on… have I mislead (sic) them? Or anyone? Fill me in.”

Damian Lillard vs the Jazz

Damian Lillard, #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers, brings the ball up court during the second half against the Utah Jazz at Vivint Arena. (Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

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The Heat appear to be the preferred destination for Lillard, according to the AP, though Miami and Portland may have to find a third or fourth team to contribute to a deal.

Portland confirmed Lillard’s trade request on Saturday.

“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,” Trail Blazers general manager Joe Cronin said. “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.”

Portland selected Lillard with the No. 6 overall pick of the 2012 draft out of Weber State. He has appeared in 769 games for the Trail Blazers and averaged 25.2 points and 6.7 assists in that time.

Damian Lillard vs the Knicks

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard brings the ball up against the New York Knicks during the second half of an NBA basketball game. (AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer, File)

In 58 games last season, Lillard averaged a career-high 32.2 points per game to go along with 7.3 assists.

Lillard is a seven-time All-Star and seven-time All-NBA First Team selection. He was named to the 75thanniversary team.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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