After years of anticipation, it finally happened. Superstar point guard Damian Lillard has requested a trade from the Portland Trail Blazers. After being drafted in the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft, the former Weber State product has finally decided he’s had enough, and wants to go win a championship while he still has a few good years left. He gave the Trail Blazers everything he had and more. However, the bigger question now is, of course, where Lillard wants to go play. According to multiple reports, he has his sights set on the Miami Heat and Brooklyn Nets. Both team make sense, as they are ascending teams with loads of young talent. The Heat, obviously, just made a miraculous run to the NBA Finals. The Nets, on the other hand, with their recent trades of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, have all the draft capital they’d need to swing a trade.
Lillard will be able to pick the team he wants to go to because he’s simply that good. The Heat would become instant favorites to at least make it back to the NBA Finals, while the Nets would see their odds rise significantly as well. Of course, any team would benefit greatly from adding Lillard. He’s a dynamic scorer with savvy veteran leadership. He stayed in Portland a lot longer than many people expected in part because he believed he owed it to the team and fanbase. He’s exactly the type of player you want to add when you think you have the team that can compete for a championship.
Meanwhile, for the Trail Blazers, this makes complete sense. While it’s painful now, and will be for the foreseeable future, they aren’t close to making the NBA Finals, and a lot would have to go right for them to just make the playoffs next year in the Western Conference. They need to tear it down and rebuild around their first round pick, Scoot Henderson.
When it makes sense for both sides, that’s when it’s right to pull the trigger and rip the band aid off.