Damian Lillard is almost pleading to be traded out of Portland at this point and NBA Analyst Stephen A. Smith is doing some pleading of his own.
Lillard appeared on Showtime’s The Last Stand where he was asked about hypothetical trade destinations – Knicks, Nets, Heat or Celtics and Lillard didn’t hesitate to answer.
“Miami obviously,” Lillard said. “Miami is the obvious one, and Bam (Adebayo) is my dawg. Bam is my dawg for real. Miami is the obvious one.”
Meanwhile on First Take on Wednesday morning, Smith pleaded to eight-time All-Star Lillard to switch teams.
“I have been begging Damian Lillard to get the hell out of Portland,” Smith said. “You’re not winning there. You’re not getting any free agents to come there. It’s just not going to happen. Who doesn’t love the thought of playing with Damian Lillard? What’s the issue? He’s in Portland! You’re not getting anybody to come to Portland, so Damian Lillard…you ain’t going anywhere! This is a superstar… it’s a crying damn shame that he is in Portland, Oregon…the bottom line is he needs to get the hell out of there.”
Pelicans guard CJ McCollum was on the episode as well and he thinks Dame’s time at the Blazers is over.
“If I was a betting man, I would say this is the last that we’ve seen of him (in Portland),” McCollum said.
Another NBA Insider, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst has mentioned multiple times that Miami would be a great landing spot for Lillard.
“It feels strange to me to talk about a team in the Finals, like the Miami Heat, but the Miami Heat make a lot of sense if Dame were to become available,” The NBA Insider said recently. “They have a number of future first-round picks they can trade. They have a number of interesting young players. It would be a really fascinating opportunity if he were to come to market.”
The Trail Blazers have the third pick in the upcoming draft and GM Joe Cronin told Yahoo Sports’ Jake Fischer the franchise was “trying to win and trying to maximize Damian’s timeline” in May.
But on Wednesday, Fischer said that, “rival teams are skeptical Portland will find a suitable trade partner for that coveted selection before the Blazers come on the clock.”
33-year-old Lillard has made it abundantly clear that he won’t stay in Portland if the team is angling for a rebuild.
So it will be interesting to see how the 2023 NBA Draft plays out and the ensuing summer.