It’s no secret that multiple teams would be interested in Damian Lillard if he ever requested a trade or if the Trail Blazers made him available.
The kicker? None of those have happened and there are no clear signs that they are going to happen anytime soon.
Still, that hasn’t stopped Lillard’s name from being in all the news since Portland’s first-round loss to a low-profile Denver team in the 2023 NBA Playoffs. Lillard has had no qualms about responding. to some of the rumors and has continued to show loyalty to the Trail Blazers.
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Timeline of Damian Lillard’s trade rumors
On June 27, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported that the reaction to Portland’s process to hire a new head coach and concerns about whether the Trail Blazers can build a championship contender “have become push factors.” to Lillard to leave.
Less than a month later, on July 16, TrueHoop’s Henry Abbott reported that Lillard planned to apply for a trade “in the next few days,” citing a variety of reasons.
Lillard was quick to respond to the report, denying he planned to request a trade, but also made it clear that he wants to “win it all” and wants the Trail Blazers “to be moving toward that.”
Lillard expanded on that point in a lengthy interview with Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports that was published the same day.
“I think that’s the stage we’re in as a team, where everyone, not just me, not just my teammates, not just our new coaching staff, the main office, everyone in this organization should look in the mirror because we have We constantly fall short. We have to look in the mirror and say that I have to be better because whatever we do is not working and it does not give us the opportunity to compete at the level we want to compete at. “
Almost two weeks later, on July 29, Lillard and Abbott were back and forth on Twitter.
Now ask yourself the same question about me. I’ve been transparent for a decade … never denied where I was after the season … don’t call me about the state of the game right now. What you are reporting is simply not the facts, bro. I am the definitive source https://t.co/CF9DM7PeS4
– Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) July 29, 2023
On the media day before the 2023-22 season, Lillard was asked once again if his name was involved in offseason rumors.
“A lot of times there were rumors about things that people reported that never came from me,” Lillard said. “I don’t think it’s my job to control rumors, positive or negative. I know where my heart is and my teammates know it too ”.
Lillard made it clear to Jason Quick of The Athletic days before the start of the regular season: “Everybody says what they think I’m thinking and what they think I’m going to do, but I’m not leaving Portland. , know?”
There have been a couple more reports in the months since.
In what has been a slow start to the season for the Trail Blazers, Athletic’s Shams Charania and Sam Amick reported on Dec. 6 that Lillard had become “frustrated with the team’s game,” adding that the tension seemed to “mount. between the players and [head coach Chauncey] Billups “.
Lillard took to Twitter to reply.
These mfs love drama too much. https://t.co/ej15TkAybZ
– Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) December 6, 2023
The next day, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Lillard was seeking a two-year, $ 107 million extension in July, which was causing some turmoil within the Trail Blazers, who were in a state of transition after the president’s firing. of basketball operations Neil Olshey. .
Lillard responded with the following post:
I can’t say I’m surprised. https://t.co/AwOUKOfGQv
– Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) December 7, 2023
Lillard has preached loyalty to the Trail Blazers over and over again in his career. He went so far as to say that his “Achilles heel” could end up being his reluctance to join a super team in a recent freestyle. Still, Jake Fischer of the Bleacher Report reported that there is a belief in the league that he could “eventually request a trade before the 2023-23 season.”
In other words, we haven’t come close to hearing the end of this.
Damian Lillard possible landing sites
The 76ers are well reported to be interested in acquiring Lillard, but ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that he is “not available” for discussion.
Another team that has been linked to Lillard throughout this process is the Knicks. Marc Berman of the New York Post reported this offseason that the Knicks “had been monitoring Lillard for months, interested in putting together a package for the Blazers superstar.” ESPN’s Stephen A Smith reported Aug. 1 that if they traded Lillard, the Knicks would be theirs. “destination number one. “
Other teams that could put together an attractive package – some combination of salary filler, young star, prospects and draft picks – include the Pelicans, Celtics, Warriors, Raptors and Heat. As currently built, the Lakers face an uphill battle to trade for another star, but it sure sounded like LeBron James tried to draft Lillard in the offseason, and Lillard is from California.
Damian Lillard’s salary
Including this season, Lillard has three guaranteed seasons remaining on his contract. He has a player option of $ 48.8 million for the 2024-25 season.