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Blazers Have Been ‘Quietly Rebuilding,’ Even Before Damian Lillard Trade

Damian Lillard is seeking a trade to leave the rebuilding Portland Trail Blazers, but they have signaled this move for years.

2023 NBA Summer League - San Antonio Spurs v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard may be headed to the Miami Heat as he requested a trade from the team earlier this summer.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst chimed in on the Lillard situation and discusses how the Blazers have been “quietly rebuilding.”

“The Blazers have been in a rebuild for two years,” Windhorst said on The Old Man & The Three Podcast. “They just didn’t tell anybody. You know that new phenomenon... ‘quiet quitting?’ They were quietly rebuilding.”

The Blazers selected teenager Shaedon Sharpe with the No. 7 pick in last year’s draft, and even with the amount of trade chatter surrounding the No. 3 pick this year, Portland opted to select Scoot Henderson, a point guard who’s the best prospect drafted to the team since Lillard.

Dame signed a two-year extension with the Blazers last summer. However, Portland finished as the No. 13 seed in the Western Conference and did not make the playoffs in an otherwise career season for Lillard, thus resulting in a “quiet rebuild.”

A series of moves from the trade deadline to the 2023 NBA Draft culminated in the Blazers now having their cornerstone want out, and to seemingly one team only.

A move to the Heat would make Lillard the highest paid player in Miami, as its two other All-Stars — Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo — are both signed to the team through 2025-26 on max contracts. Lillard is under contract until 2026-27 where he is set to make $63.2 million.

While Portland does not have to worry about him walking out the door as a free agent, they must decide whether a package from Miami would be worth giving up Lillard, or if they should keep him and make additional moves to re-enter the playoff picture.