It just might happen this offseason. Damian Lillard, the face of the Portland Trailblazers‘ franchise, may be finally getting traded. 11 grueling seasons of playoff disappointment and substandard rosters later, Lillard is ready to leave the city of Portland, Oregon.
He has reportedly listed his preferred landing destinations, those being Brooklyn, Miami, New York, and Boston. All of these teams could desperately use someone with Lillard’s skillset. Of course, this could just be another false alarm for Lillard so we should keep our expectations low.
The 32-year-old superstar has made it quite clear that the Miami Heat are at the top of his list. The question that arises then is, what do the Heat have that can interest a rebuilding franchise such as the Trailblazers?
The Heat can’t be expected to give up either Jimmy Butler or Bam Adebayo considering that they are franchise cornerstones. It would either have to be a boatload of picks, somewhere around what the Jazz received for Rudy Gobert or young and promising talents such as Tyler Herro and Caleb Martin.
Damian Lillard and Bam Adebayo formed a close bond when playing together for Team USA
It’s been reported, that the prime reason for Lillard’s interest in joining the Miami Heat is star center, Bam Adebayo. When asked why Miami is his first choice, Lillard has been quoted simply replying “Bam is my dawg.”
This is quite interesting news, considering that the Lillard-Adebayo friendship dynamic was not something quite prevalent in the NBA community. Talking on the Showtime podcast, Lillard does also show partiality towards one other player saying “Brooklyn is another obvious one because Mikal Bridges is my dawg too.”
Damian Lillard says Miami is ‘obviously’ his first choice over Boston, New York, and Brooklyn in a hypothetical trade
“Bam is my dawg”
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) June 7, 2023
Diving deeper into the Lillard-Adebayo connection we learn that the Heat Center became close with Lillard when training for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Adebayo said this when asked what he’s learning from veterans such as Lillard and Durant “Definitely just being around them, seeing their work ethic, seeing how they go about their professional business, and seeing what I can do differently.”
“Watching Giannis win the Finals, and playing on Team USA with Bam Adebayo, sources say Damian Lillard is as excited as ever about the idea of playing with a super-athletic and mobile big man.”
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) July 27, 2021
“Getting to talk to him and getting that chemistry with is Dame, just because I play center, he plays point guard,” Adebayo continued. “So it’s kind of we’ve got to build a connection in the pick and roll. But just being in his ear and seeing how he thinks that game.” He mentions being in Dame’s ear, so this seems like a nod toward recruiting Lillard to the Heat and not just about learning from his senior.
Damian Lillard has been unhappy with the situation in Portland for quite a while now, but neither he nor the organization has been able to pull the trigger on trade yet. This leads fans to believe Dame discussing trade options is more of a ‘Boy who called Wolf’ situation rather than anything concrete, but who knows? Maybe it’s time for the next chapter in Dame Time’s career.