Where is Damian Lillard heading next?
The partnership between Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers is coming to a close as Lillard has officially requested a trade last week.
Despite playing his entire 11-year NBA career in Portland and leading the team to eight consecutive playoff appearances, including one trip to the Western Conference finals, Lillard and the franchise have been playing a game of cat and mouse during multiple offseasons.
However, the Blazers have recently missed the playoffs for two consecutive seasons, despite Lillard’s impressive career-high average of 32.2 points per game this past year. The lack of a strong supporting cast has hindered Portland’s success.
It appears highly unlikely that Lillard will finish his career with the Blazers, and the focus now shifts to where he will land next.
Lillard’s next team – odds
Lillard has specifically requested to be traded to the Miami Heat, as they are deemed the most suitable team for him from a basketball standpoint.
However, reports suggest that the Portland Trail Blazers are not satisfied with Miami’s offer, which includes Tyler Herro, Nikola Jovic, Kyle Lowry, and multiple draft picks. The Blazers believe that their return for trading away their franchise’s best player should be more substantial. Nonetheless, there are limited teams willing or able to make a deal.
One factor that plays into the decision is Lillard’s hefty salary, which is set to be $45 million next year, $48 million the following season, and a staggering $58 million in 2025-26. Some teams are hesitant to take on such a high salary for an aging star, while others lack the necessary cap space.
If Miami were to acquire Lillard, they could bolster their roster by pairing him with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, who led the team to the NBA Finals as an 8th seed.