Damian Lillard has given every ounce of his being to the Portland Trail Blazers since being drafted back in 2012. The former no.6 pick has cemented the Blazers as a challenger in the ever-competitive Western Conference. Despite being a big fish in a small pond, Lillard seemed happy with life in Rip City, but now the tides have turned, and he appears set to demand a trade.
Ironically, the final straw for Dame seems to have come after he blazed 55 points off just 24 shots against Denver in the first round of the 2021 playoffs. Portland lost that game, and Dame's comments painted a pretty clear picture.
"It doesn't matter, we lost the game. At this point, all that matters is we can't lose another game in this series".Damian Lilliard
The Blazers ultimately lost the series in the next game, and it became clear that Portland was not at the level of Damian Lillard.
Why Damian Lilliard fell out of love with Blazers
This trade request will come as no surprise to anyone that's been paying attention. Since their playoff exit, Portland has fired their head coach of nine years, Terry Stotts. While sources say the owner, Jody Allen, plans to sell the franchise. And the biggest issue for Dame? The team doesn't have the flexibility to improve to the level he needs to compete at the top.
The disastrous search for a new head coach did nothing to appease Lillard. And it appears he will make his feelings official by requesting a trade in the coming days. The only positive for Portland, if ever there was a positive to your best player demanding a trade. Lillard's trade value is at an all-time high.
Portland appears to hold all the cards here. However, holding off on trading will likely send the franchise into disarray. With Lillard not due to be a free agent until 2024. Not what you need when you are trying to sell.
Damian Lillard just turned 31 years old. This is now 'Dame-Time.' But in terms of his career, not clutch moments. He is arguably the best point guard in the NBA, and this is his time to shine. It's just not going to be in Portland.