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Damian Lillard Trade Request: Who Will He Play for Next?

It finally happened: Portland Trail Blazers legend Damian Lillard requested a trade out of the city where he has spent his entire career. News broke on Saturday morning that Lillard, loyal to a fault, had made the request. Let’s dive into the Damian Lillard trade request and dig into both the likeliest landing spot, the Miami Heat, and a few other alternative options.

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Damian Lillard Trade Request & Next Team: Who Will He Play for Next? 

The Miami Heat Should Get Their Guy

After the Miami Heat lost out on the Bradley Beal sweepstakes, rumors began to swirl about them making a splash to acquire Damian Lillard from the Portland Trail Blazers. The opening day of free agency, which saw Gabe Vincent depart for the Los Angeles Lakers and Max Strus leave for the Cleveland Cavaliers, only made a deal more likely.

According to NBA insider Shams Charania, Lillard specifically requested a trade to the Miami Heat. Although initial reporting listed a few other alternative landing spots for Lillard, it’s difficult to imagine the Portland front office ignoring Lillard’s request, especially after how much he has given the organization over the last decade.

Adding Lillard gives the Heat a third star player to pair with wing Jimmy Butler and center Bam Adebayo. The Heat relied heavily on Butler in the postseason, perhaps unsustainably so, and putting Lillard on the floor alongside him would likely create more openings in the defense for both players to exploit.

If Lillard winds up in South Beach, expect the Heat to fly up the NBA championship and Eastern Conference oddsboards. The Heat currently slot in at 12-1 (7.7%) at FanDuel to win next year’s title, behind two of their Eastern Conference rivals, the Boston Celtics at 9-2 (18.2%) and the Milwaukee Bucks at 11-2 (15.4%). New to FanDuel? First-time users can get a no-sweat first bet worth up to $1,000!


Where Else Could Lillard End Up? 

A few other potential landing spots have been discussed for Lillard. Initial reporting from NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski included the Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Clippers among interested parties. Likewise, Shams’ initial reporting listed the Brooklyn Nets as a possible suitor.

Of these three teams, the 76ers and Clippers make the most sense. Both teams have aging rosters with a shrinking championship window. Both teams may also need point guards — the Clippers haven’t committed to bringing back Russell Westbrook yet, and James Harden is likely on his way out of Philadelphia. In contrast, the Nets have a young roster and should try to rebuild, not win now.

All of that said, it’s unlikely the Trail Blazers will send Lillard somewhere he doesn’t want to go. He has given up too much for both the city of Portland and the Trail Blazers organization for the club to justify any such move — especially in the court of public opinion. Expect Lillard to wind up on the Heat unless he changes his mind.

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