Damian Lillard Addresses Fans Criticizing His Reported Trade Request: Have I Misled Them?

Breaking up is hard to do.

Damian Lillard addressed his trade request Sunday for the first time since news broke of his desire to be traded from the Portland Trail Blazers, with a message for disappointed fans.

The seven-time All-Star and 11-year Trail Blazer responded to a tweet from a Portland sports radio host who expressed surprise at “the number of fans who like Lillard today.” Lillard took, in his words, “the high road”. And he has a question for said fans.

Lillard wrote, “It’s in my blood to take the high road.” “I’d love to hear what the fans are making… Have I misled them? Or anyone? Include me.”

Are fans right to be angry with Lillard?

Lillard requests trade out of Portland, sources This was confirmed by Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. on Saturday. The Miami Heat is his favorite destination.

The news comes as a blow to the Trail Blazers and the fanbase is now bracing for the exit of the franchise’s best and most beloved player since Clyde Drexler. Lillard has long been loyal to the Trail Blazers, even after they failed to corner him to compete for the NBA championship. They told Dave Pasch Podcast In September 2022 he envisioned staying in Portland for the rest of his career.

Lillard said, “As long as I feel like our organization is doing its best and we’re on the same page about doing everything we can to win, I’m willing to move forward.” … “I want to win in Portland.”

Damian Lillard's departure from Portland appears imminent.  (Sobum Im/Getty Images)

Damian Lillard’s departure from Portland appears imminent. (Sobum Im/Getty Images)

It’s something Lillard has been repeating for a long time, even though the Trail Blazers have failed to pair him with another All-Star for eight consecutive seasons. The last All-Star Lillard played with LaMarcus Aldridge was in 2014-15. It appears that Lillard really liked playing for the Blazers and wanted to end his career there. But he wanted to do so with a chance to win, a proposition that becomes increasingly unlikely with the Trail Blazers’ recent moves.

Portland has prioritized its future with its recent draft selections of Scooter Henderson (2023) and Shaddon Sharp (2022). Now, instead of trading those premium draft assets for players ready to compete, the Blazers have invested in 19- and 20-year-olds whose prime is several seasons away. Meanwhile, Lillard’s peak is now. And he’s at the receiving end of it.

And as he looked to await Portland’s decisions through the start of the draft and free agency, the writing became clear. Their only reasonable chance to win an NBA championship lies elsewhere. A Heat team featuring Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo that recently made it to the NBA Finals is definitely in a better spot.

Did Lillard ‘mislead’ someone?

Lillard asked Sunday if he “misled” anyone. While he has repeatedly stated his loyalty to the Trail Blazers, he has included a caveat – that the franchise must commit to him in order to win a championship. He clarified those feelings in his interview with Pasch with Qualifier saying “we’re on the same page about doing everything we can to win.”

He laid out his blueprint for a competitive Trail Blazers roster in pre-draft June interviews Showtime’s “The Last Stand” Podcast addressing trade rumors.

“I want an opportunity to win in Portland, and we have an asset-wise opportunity right now to build a team that can compete,” Lillard said. “That would be the No. 1 thing, but if we can’t do that, obviously, as I’ve said for several months, then that’s a different conversation we’ll have to have.”

When the Trail Blazers failed to convert those assets into winning players, Lillard reached his breaking point for that “different conversation.” And now his exit from Portland appears inevitable.

For Portland fans who have enjoyed watching one of the NBA’s most exciting players for 11 seasons, the news comes as a hard, emotional blow. It will not be easy and should not be expected to be. But any fan anger directed at Lillard is misguided — even though it’s understandable that they would be upset.

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