Damian Lillard gave the basketball world a proper shock when he demanded a trade away from the Portland Trail Blazers earlier this summer. He was supposed to be one of the last remaining loyal servants in the new era of the NBA, but as it turns out, even the seven-time All-Star had his limits.
Damian Lillard Attempted to Rescind Trade Request
Lillard was very transparent from the get-go. He made it clear that his preferred destination was the Miami Heat, who for their part, did everything they could to land the 33-year-old point guard. In the end, however, they just couldn’t get a deal done, as the Blazers remained firm on their massive asking price for their now-former cornerstone superstar.
At one point, Dame knew that the Heat trade was not going to happen. According to league insider Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report, Lillard circled back to the Blazers front office to try and fix the situation. What happened after that was nothing short of shocking:
“Lillard then said if a deal couldn’t be worked out with the Heat, he would prefer to rescind his trade request and return to the Trail Blazers.
“(General Manager Joe) Cronin’s response to the seven-time All-Star was that there was no coming back.
“Lillard was shocked, sources said. He said it was discouraging to hear he couldn’t return, but added that he didn’t want to be somewhere he wasn’t wanted, and he ended the meeting,” Haynes wrote.
Portland had gotten the ball rolling on the Lillard trade, and apparently, there was no turning back. That ship had already sailed at that point, and despite Dame’s supposed desire to remain with the team, the Blazers just did not want him anymore.
Damian Lillard Still Reported to Portland Trail Blazers Training Camp
In spite of these shocking turn of events, Lillard still decided to report back to work, so to speak. He reported to the team’s practice facility in early September with the intention of showing his professionalism amid his prolonged trade saga. As it turns out, however, Cronin did not show him the same courtesy:
“I went into the facility because I was still on the roster and usually that time of the year is when team activities start to pick up as a group. I wasn’t confident I would be moved so I showed up to be in the mix,” Lillard told B/R.
“… I didn’t go there to cause any problems. That’s not my character. If they felt that way, it wasn’t my intent. I was just trying to get acclimated and everyone was happy to see me. Every single person except Joe. He never spoke to me. And when I noticed that, I made up in my mind that I’m not going out my way to speak to him.”
For their part, however, it all worked out for the Milwaukee Bucks. They pounced on Lillard’s unsavory situation in Portland and they now have one of, if not the most dangerous partnerships in all of the NBA in Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Things just got very interesting in Milwaukee.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Damian Lillard, the highly regarded point guard, has been with the Portland Trail Blazers for his entire 11-year career. His unwavering loyalty and exceptional leadership skills have made him a favorite among teammates and the organization as a whole.
The Blazers traded Damian Lillard because he issued a trade request in July after the team's two consecutive postseason absences. Lillard's request coincided with the Blazers' decision to retain their No. 3 draft pick and acquire Henderson, rather than trading it for experienced players.
As of 2023, Damian Lillard is traded to the Milwaukee Bucks to play alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo in a three-team deal involving the Portland Trail Blazers and Phoenix Suns.