It was anything but a straightforward path for Damian Lillard when he joined the Milwaukee Bucks this summer. In fact, the Bucks did not actually emerge as a viable landing spot for him until later on in the offseason.
It was no secret that the Miami Heat was his preferred destination. Lillard himself declared his desire to move to South Beach shortly after he decided to call time on his tenure with the Portland Trail Blazers.
Milwaukee Bucks’ Damian Lillard Speaks Out on Botched Miami Heat Move
This is exactly why more than a few fans out there were shocked to learn about Lillard’s blockbuster trade to the Bucks. All along, Miami was the frontrunner to land the seven-time All-Star, only for Milwaukee to come in and hijack the deal at the last minute.
For his part, it is clear that Lillard still holds some regret about not being able to join the Heat. In a recent interview, the 33-year-old revealed how Miami superstar Jimmy Butler actually played an integral role in Dame’s wish to land in Miami:
“We’ve always been in some form of contact with each other,” Lillard said of Butler, via Melissa Rohlin of FOX Sports. “And I said it, initially I was like, ‘I want to go to Miami.’ He was a big part of that. It didn’t happen. I’m here now. But our relationship will be the same. The same respect. It’s just something that didn’t happen. It was out of his control and mine.”
To be fair, Lillard’s move to the Heat died a slow death, so it’s not as if fans were totally taken by surprise by the fact that the move did not materialize. So many factors came into play, but at the end of the day, the Portland Trail Blazers were just unable to see eye to eye with the Heat’s front office.
As Lillard said, however, nothing has changed when it comes to his relationship with Butler. These two have formed quite a bond through the years, and the fact that Lillard did everything he could to try and play alongside his buddy is a testament to this fact.
Be that as it may, it definitely doesn’t mean that these two competitors won’t be going for each other’s heads once they face off against one another on the basketball court — figuratively speaking, of course.
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