NBA: Damian Lillard wants trade, prefers deal to Heat | Inquirer Sports

NBA: Damian Lillard wants trade, prefers deal to Heat

/ 07:00 AM July 02, 2023

Damian Lillard Trail Blazers NBA

Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers  (Getty Images via AFP)

NEW YORK – Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard has requested a trade and the seven-time NBA All-Star guard prefers a deal to the Miami Heat, according to multiple reports on Saturday.

Lillard, who turns 33 on July 15, is due $204 million over the next four years. He has spent all 11 of his NBA campaigns with Portland but has gone past the second round only once in eight trips to the playoffs.


Lillard’s request was reported by ESPN and The Athletic with the Miami Herald also reporting Lillard wants only the Heat, being a close friend of Heat star Bam Adebayo and having respect for playmaker Jimmy Butler.


“We have been clear that we want Dame here, but he notified us today he wants out and he’d prefer to play someplace else,” Blazers general manager Joe Cronin said in a statement distributed by the team. “What has not changed for us is that we’re committed to winning, and we are going to do what’s best for the team in pursuit of that goal.”

Butler and Adebayo were keys in the Heat making a run from the play-in games to the NBA Finals last month, where Miami lost to the Denver Nuggets.

Lillard averaged a career-high 32.2 points and 7.3 assists and matched a career-best by shooting 46.3% over 58 games last season. He would be the largest point scorer in NBA history to swap teams for the next campaign, ESPN reported.

Portland finished 33-49 and missed the playoffs for the second season in a row.

The Trail Blazers are expected to want young talent and draft picks in exchange from any team interested in Lillard. Those with salary cap room to make the deal include the Heat, Philadelphia 76ers, Los Angeles Clippers and Brooklyn Nets.

Players on the Heat who could be moved in exchange likely include guards Kyle Lowry and Tyler Herro and forward Duncan Robinson.


ESPN reported Lillard has a “deep respect” for the San Antonio Spurs, who just landed French teen star big man Victor Wembanyama. But the Spurs finished 22-60 last season and missed the playoffs for a fourth consecutive campaign.

Lillard played under Spurs coach Gregg Popovich on the US Tokyo Olympic gold medal squad.

The Spurs also have the most salary cap space available among NBA clubs in the latest round of free agency.

Another talented guard in a similar situation is Philadelphia’s James Harden, a three-time NBA scoring champion who opted in on a one-year deal and also seeks a trade.

Lillard’s requested move was revealed only hours after the start of NBA free agency for the 2023-24 season.

Talks could begin Friday but no contracts can be signed until next Thursday, leaving only unconfirmed reports to signal the flow of talent around the NBA as dozens of deals were said to have been agreed upon by clubs and available players.

Among those deals was Portland’s pact with forward Jerami Grant on a five-year deal worth $160 million, ESPN and The Athletic said.

Russell staying in LA

Fred VanVleet, a 29-year-old point guard who helped Toronto win the 2019 crown, is going to Houston on a three-year deal worth $130 million.

But the Rockets, who still have plenty of money to spend under the salary cap, were rejected by another standout.

ESPN reported on Saturday that center Brook Lopez, who played out his contract with Milwaukee, has agreed to a two-year deal worth $48 million to stay with the Bucks. He was among Houston’s reported targets.

The Bucks, the 2021 NBA champions, reportedly agreed to a deal Friday with forward Khris Middleton on a $102 million contract over three years.

Keeping both players should help ensure that the Bucks also keep Greek star big man Giannis Antetokounmpo, who could become a free agent in 2025.

The Los Angeles Lakers will reportedly keep guard D’Angelo Russell on a two-year deal worth $37 million.

Patrick Beverley, an 11-year veteran guard, agreed to a one-year deal with the 76ers, ESPN reported. It would be Beverley’s fifth team in four seasons.

The Raptors reportedly agreed to a two-year deal worth $26 million with Germany’s Dennis Schroder to replace VanVleet.

Desmond Bane of Memphis and Indiana’s Tyrese Haliburton reportedly will receive maximum five-year deals.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Reigning Euroleague Most Valuable Player Sasha Vezenkov, a Bulgarian forward, went to Sacramento for three years.

TAGS: Damian Lillard, Miami Heat, NBA, Portland Trailblazers

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.