The Portland Trail Blazers are now preparing for something they haven’t had in over a decade, a roster without Damian Lillard.
It’s not easy for a player in this version of the NBA to play for the same franchise for 11 years, but Lillard has done that. It’s even harder to do so for 12 years, and this is where the buck stops for Lillard.
The Athletic’s Jason Quick says that Lillard’s trade request is long overdue.
So as much as Lillard has been proclaiming that he wants to stay in Portland, his trade request on Saturday has been a long time coming. It appears the final straw may have come last week, when Blazers general manager Joe Cronin didn’t follow through on his goal to build a win-now product around Lillard. Armed with the third pick, the 23rd pick and a young 20-point scorer in Anfernee Simons, Cronin not only didn’t make a trade to bring in veteran help, but also drafted Lillard’s heir apparent in Scoot Henderson.
Quick mentions how there were opportunities for Lillard to ask out prior to this past weekend, but ultimately found ways to stay with the Blazers.
In the latest episode of the #thisleague UNCUT podcast, NBA insider Chris Haynes told Marc Stein that Lillard had previously considered a trade after the 2021 season in their first-round loss to the Denver Nuggets. However, the Blazers had hired Chauncey Billups and Lillard had wanted to give his new coach a chance with him as the lead guard.
Both sides wanted to do right by each other throughout the entire process over the past few years, but ultimately it appears that the marriage is over for now.
You can read Quick’s full article here.