The Portland Trail Blazers offseason should be considered a celebration considering the team drafted Scoot Henderson with the No. 3 pick. Instead, the summer has been defined by Damian Lillard’s trade request to the Miami Heat.
It’s not the first time a star has requested a trade away from his team, and it probably won’t be the last. Even though many believe star players should be able to request trades, the opinion isn’t shared by everyone.
Veteran point guard Austin Rivers shared his thoughts regarding stars requesting trades.
“The NBA is a privilege,” Rivers said on his podcast. “If you are a free agent then you can choose where you go, that’s the business. If you get traded somewhere, you have got to go play. ... This started with James [Harden] and Ben [Simmons] and all these guys doing this s—t. It’s bad for the league.”
The comments don’t exactly reference Lillard’s trade request in particular, but it does allude to it.
Lillard asked to be traded by the Blazers at the beginning of the month, shortly after the start of free agency. Dame doesn’t have a no-trade clause, but his agent Aaron Goodwin has told teams that he prefers a trade to the Heat and that is the only team he is interested in going to.
The Blazers could trade him to any of the other 28 teams or keep him on the roster anyway, but there’s been rumors that Lillard wouldn’t report if that were the case.
Perhaps this is more of what Rivers was referring to, this unwillingness of playing for any team except for one, and it isn’t even the team Lillard is currently apart of.
Rivers is right in a sense. Lillard signed up for this and he has a contract to live up to. If he doesn’t live up to the contract, it sets an example for others to follow. Other stars have set the example for Lillard before, and now this is what it has turned into.