Despite speculation that Damian Lillard’s legendary 11-year run with the Portland Trail Blazers could end this summer, a pair of NBA insiders claim there is no evidence whatsoever that is happening in the next few months unless one thing changes.
This season again delivered a very disappointing year for the Portland Trail Blazers. While injuries again had a major effect there was still enough good talent on the team that at the least they should have made it to the Western Conference Play-In tournament. Instead, they finished 33-49 and cultivated a bunch of ping-pong balls in this year’s NBA Draft.
That is why, again, there are many around the league wondering if this is finally the offseason where the Portland Trail Blazers pull the trigger on a rebuild and ship off team icon Damian Lillard. However, based on a new report, it looks like the team has no intention of trading the seven-time All-Star.
On Monday during a new edition of the “Hoops Hype” podcast, NBA insider Michael Scotto claimed that his sources have informed him that the organization’s strategy this summer is that it “still plans to build around Lillard.”
Damian Lillard requesting trade from Portland Trail Blazers remains the only way a deal happens
Portland Trail Blazers insider Sean Highkin added to that thought by explaining why it really doesn’t make much sense and is very risky for the team to move their best player at this juncture.
“To me, when you’re a team in a market like Portland, and you have a guy who’s still an All-NBA level guy and still wants to be there and is as good as he is, I don’t know if the move is to say we have this guy who’s the greatest player in franchise history and still playing at a high level – let’s just trade him proactively to start over and maybe one day some of these things we get will turn into somebody as good as Dame.”– Sean Highkin
- Damian Lillard stats (’22-’23): 32.2 PG, 4.8 RPG, 7.3 APG, 37% 3PT
Both Scotto and Highkin both agreed on another key element of the situation. While the Portland Trail Blazers trading Damian Lillard seems highly unlikely, that could change quickly if the future Hall-of-Famer were to do like other superstars and ask for a trade.
“If Dame was to reverse course and say it’s time to get me somewhere else, I think they’d work with him and get him somewhere he wants to go. But that’s not what I heard they’re thinking of doing or their mindset at all right now,” says Highkin.