Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard reportedly plans to request a trade in the next few days, seeking an opportunity to join another NBA contender before next season.
The All-Star point guard has been the subject of NBA trade rumors in recent weeks due to a growing rift with general manager Neil Olshey. Reports of a potential trade request first surfaced on June 27 and now things may be escalating.
True Hoop’s Henry Abbott reported Friday that a source close to Lillard indicates he plans to request a trade away from Trail Blazers within the next few days.
Lillard, who is currently starring with Team USA, told Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes that he will address the NBA rumors on Friday after the USA men’s basketball team practices. He is scheduled to meet with the media around 12:30 PM PST.
- Damian Lillard stats (2020-’21): 28.8 ppg, 7.5 apg, 4.2 rpg, 45.1% from the field
Portland’s 31-year-old star pushed back against trade rumors this past week, making a case for why things could work out with the Trail Blazers. But he also added that he has spoken to Olshey directly about issues with the team and will speak out about it if necessary.
In an exclusive interview with Haynes, Lillard provided some insight on how he feels about his situation with the Trail Blazers right now and the factors shaping his perspective.
“There are few reasons: One being I’m not getting any younger. Our environment has always been great. We’re not losing a lot, but we were eliminated by a shorthanded Denver team that I felt we should have beat. I just walked away from that really disappointed. I was like, ‘Man, this just isn’t going to work.’ We’re not winning the championship, but we’ve got a successful organization. We’re not a franchise that’s just out here losing every year and getting divided. We have positive seasons; we just don’t end up with a championship. So I feel like at this point, I basically made the decision that if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll always be where you’ve always been.”Portland Trail Blazers PG Damian Lillard on where things stand with the franchise, via Yahoo Sports
If Lillard requests a trade, there will be a plethora of teams interested in acquiring him. The Philadelphia 76ers have discussed a Ben Simmons trade but were waiting in hopes that Lillard became available. Portland’s six-time All-Star selection is also the biggest target for the New York Knicks and the Golden State Warriors have discussed acquiring him.
- Damian Lillard contract: $43.75 million in 2021-’22, $47.25 million in 2022-’23, $50.75 million in 2023-’24
There’s a chance Lillard could squash the trade speculation once again during his press conference Friday, but it’s evident he is growing tired with Portland’s yearly playoff exits. With his patience running thin, it’s only a matter of time before a trade demand is official.