Damian Lillard has, for the most part, kept quiet this offseason in terms of speaking publicly about his ongoing trade request from the Portland Trail Blazers. The star guard has not wanted to answer questions directly about his impending departure from Portland, likely in part due to the league making it clear that they will issue fines for players trying to direct themselves to a specific team in a trade.
However, everyone knows the reality of the situation and behind the scenes, Lillard and his agent have made clear that his desire is to end up in Miami alongside Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. With training camp two weeks away, trade talks have restarted in Portland, as they look to find the best possible trade for their rebuild. As that stalemate continues, Lillard made an appearance on the It Is What It Is podcast with Cam’ron and Ma$e for his most forthcoming interview of the summer. They discussed whether he wanted to be in Portland, with Lillard tiptoeing around it by noting “in a perfect world” he would, before the conversation shifted to why his hometown team, the Warriors, wasn’t ever in consideration.
Lillard, as an Oakland native, has natural ties to Golden State, but has made clear he doesn’t have any interest in going there in his pursuit of a ring. He explained to Cam (52:00 mark above) that the reason is, even with the out of “going home” he couldn’t go to the Warriors and believe he was the one lifting them to a title because they already have a guy who has won four rings playing his same position in Steph Curry.
“As far as Golden State, I respect what they’ve been doing the last 8, 9 years or whatever and I’m from there – obviously that’s home – but I can’t go be a part of that,” Lillard says. “They done won 4 championships, what I look like going to try and do that saying “oh I’m joining my home team.” No, that’s somebody that played my position that’s behind LeBron as the best player of this era. To me, that don’t even make sense. I’d never do nothin like that. I’d lose every year before I go [to Golden State].”
He then got asked about Kevin Durant joining the Warriors and said what he’s said before that, if he was in that position personally, he wouldn’t have made the move KD did. It is interesting that Lillard’s top choice is a Miami team that’s made two Finals in the past four years, but there is a difference in feeling like you’re a player that can get a team that’s close over the hump rather than joining a team that’s already hoisted the Larry O’Brien. We’ll find out if Lillard gets his wish in the next few weeks or if there’s a surprise team that swoops in to land him, putting to the test the rumblings he might not report to camp if he’s not in Miami.
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