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Now that he’s requested a trade, where could the Blazers’ Damian Lillard play next?

Though the writing has been on the wall for some time, it’s in the doing and not the talking that’s often surprising. Damian Lillard has requested a trade.

Damian Lillard, base de Portland Trail Blazers.
Steph ChambersAFP

It would be untrue to say we haven’t seen this coming. On the other hand, it’s still something to see that the Blazers’ star has finally lost his faith in what’s being built in Portland - or not. Given his talent, we’re now assured of an intense battle for his signature.

Damian Lillard wants out of Portland

Perhaps you’ve heard it by now, but All-Star guard Damian Lillard has requested a trade from the Portland Trail Blazers according to reports on Saturday. Of course, there were already indications that Lillard would look to move if the Blazers couldn’t build a competitive team around him, however, his desire to depart is now set in stone. With that, one of the NBA’s most talented players will now be looking to move on from the only team he’s ever played for. What that looks like and where he ends up, is anyone’s guess but rest assured it’s going to be something to see.

Where does Damian Lillard go from here?

In truth, there are really only two teams that have been linked with Lillard for some time now: The Miami Heat and the Brooklyn Nets. Where Lillard himself is concerned, it’s been a while since reports have indicated that he prefers the Heat. Indeed, he recently expressed that Miami is where he would like to go if he were to leave Portland during an appearance on a podcast. “Miami is the obvious one. Bam [Adebayo] is my dog. Bam is my dog for real. But I mean I think Miami is the obvious one.” Mixing things up, he later added that he could see himself in Brooklyn. “Brooklyn is another obvious one because Mikal Bridges is my dog too. I mean, both have capable rosters.”

Ultimately, there are Lillard’s wishes and then there is the reality of the situation i.e., it’s not entirely up to him. Should the Blazers be given a better deal by another team, then Lillard will likely be plying his trade in some place that is neither down south nor in the ‘Big Apple.’ Consider for a moment that the Lakers, Clippers, and 76ers have all previously expressed an interest in acquiring the sharp shooting guard. Adding further fuel to those alternate fires is the fact that Philly is now actively looking to sort out James Harden’s situation. The former Rockets star opted-in to the final year of his contract and then proceeded to request a trade the day before free agency began. That’s to say, that should the Sixers offer a better package to the Blazers, we might well see Lillard on his way to the East.

What about the Miami Heat

Considering that the Heat have now let go of both Gabe Vincent and Max Strus to the Lakers and Cavaliers respectively, it’s hard to see them letting go of any other core members of a roster that narrowly missed out on an NBA title this past season. Realistically speaking, any deal that Miami can offer will likely include guard Tyler Herro and some future first-round picks, however, there has been no word to suggest that Herro is a player that Portland wants. After all, the Blazers already possess Shaedon Sharpe and Anfernee Simons, and then there is point guard Scoot Henderson who was selected with the No. 3 overall pick in the NBA Draft just a few weeks back. What this means, is that if the Heat truly wants Lillard on their roster, their probably going to have to include another team in the deal in order to give the Blazers something they actually want. Whatever the case, it’s definitely going to be a complicated move. Stay tuned.