May 17, 2024
Damian Lillard

In the NBA, loyalty may come at a huge cost. On one side we have players like Kevin Garnett, who went 12 years in Minnesota stuck in mediocrity and eventually wished he had moved sooner. And on the other side we have players like Scottie Pippen, who sacrificed millions of dollars and persevered through injuries to preserve the Bulls’ dynasty in the1990s.
Damian Lillard has given Portland 11 of his most productive years, but somehow the Blazers were unable to utilize him to full potential and build a championship team around him. It was more than obvious that Dame will request a trade out sooner or later. The Fans are giving mixed responses as some were expecting trade-off others are not too happy about it.

Damian Lillard- Loyalty Test

On Sunday, Lillard questioned whether he had “misled” anyone. He has consistently pledged his allegiance to the Blazers, but he has also attached a condition: the team must be equally dedicated to winning a title. Lillard hit his limit in order to ask for a trade deal when the Trail Blazers were unable to turn their assets (Top Picks) into players who could help them win now. And now it seems inevitable that he will leave Portland.

The announcement comes as a heavy, emotional blow to Portland fans who have enjoyed seeing one of the NBA’s greatest players for 11 seasons. It should not be anticipated that this will be simple. However, any fan anger directed against Lillard is incorrect — even though it makes sense that they would be angry.

The Miami Problem

Dame has clearly shown his willingness to go to Miami and play alongside his old pal Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler. But the issue is that Miami doesn’t have as much to give Portland as nearly every NBA team who would consider signing Dame. The Blazers apparently have little curiosity in Tyler Herro, Miami’s 23-year-old shooter and 2022 NBA Sixth Man of the Year, who would be the obvious trade’s focal point.

This presents challenges for the Heat. Herro is unattractive to Rip City due to his overlap with Portland’s current guards and the reality that he is set to begin the initial year on a four-year, $120 M contract. Anfernee Simons already fills Herro’s position as a shooter and secondary playmaker for the Blazers, but Simons has more impressive career stats, is on a more amiable agreement, and is only one year older.

A Three Team Trade deal

Any team looking to add Herro must need a playmaker and scorer in the backcourt. Herro is a 6-foot-5 combination guard with real skills, and he is just 23 years old. Yes, he’s set to begin a pricey four-year deal, but with a player of Herro’s calibre, it’s hardly a wildly expensive, cap-depleting contract. Simply because Portland doesn’t need him as it pushes into a rebuild around young guards like Scoot Henderson, Simmons and Shaedon Sharpe, his qualities as a player are already being underrated.

Which teams are seeking players similar to Herro & would be eager to include Lillard in a Blazers-Heat trade for him as the potential league-saving move? Here are two three-team scenarios that could land Lillard in his ideal location, net the Blazers a reasonable deal for one of the league’s best players, and net a third team in requiring a player of Herro’s calibre the appropriate compensation for signing the young point guard and his future contract.

Support that Damian Lillard gets from fans

The constant support Damian Lillard has received from fans is apparent, despite the trade saga around him continuing to dominate NBA headlines. Lillard’s dedication, on-court prowess, involvement in the community, and the outpouring of social media support are all evidence of the close bond he has with his following. The league’s fans love and appreciate Damian Lillard, and they support him wholeheartedly in his endeavours no matter what the future may bring, despite the ongoing trade rumours.

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