Portland Trail Blazers prepare to say goodbye to Damian Lillard
TUALATIN Ore. (KPTV) - The day that many Trail Blazer fans thought may never come has finally arrived as Damian Lillard requests a trade out of town – a wish Portland’s front office is expected to accommodate.
The seven-time, 32-year-old All-Star just cashed in on his best season to date - a career-high 32 points per game in the 58 he played.
Dame Dolla signed a maximum extension through 2027 last summer. His reported destination point is South Beach with the defending Eastern Conference Champion Miami Heat, coached by Jesuit High and University of Portland alum Erik Spoelstra.
Dame’s 11 years in Rip City will leave a lasting impact in his trail on the court and in the Rose City where Dame’s Respect Program with Portland Public Schools encourages kids to show up, work hard and be kind. He’s living proof of that.
The Letter O arrived from Weber State via Oakland as the No. 6 pick in 2012 and earned Rookie of The Year honors. He’ll depart as one of the top 75 players in NBA history and the franchise king in scoring - tops in three-pointers made, second in assists and third in games played. His jersey will one day be retired here, but no team banners were left to hang. The 2019 Western Conference finals run was the Blazers’ last best shot, and they haven’t won a playoff series since.
Scoot Henderson is the future now.
“I would love to play with him, but we have a great relationship, so our bond is still mutual,” Henderson says. “I am in Portland right now. About to get ready for this summer league training camp or whatever. I am in Oregon, I always dreamed of playing at Oregon football when I was younger so the fact that I am here now, it’s crazy. Favorite colors, red and black, it’s just crazy.”
The crazy electric No. 3 pick is preparing for next week in Las Vegas Summer League and perhaps taking the role as the face of the franchise at 19 years old.
“I am going to embrace it - I am going to embrace the city of Portland and embrace all the fans and embrace all the love and all the hate as well,” Henderson says. “That’s what comes with it.”
20-year-old Shaedon Sharpe got one year with Dame - one of the most loyal modern-day athletes and leaders.
“It’s really just the time you gotta put off the court, whether that’s looking at film or just studying the game more in-depth but on the court being that leader, really leading and competing at the highest level,” Sharpe says.
The new NBA League year for transactions to become official begins on Thursday so this impending Dame trade could come quick - likely before his 33rd birthday on July 15.
Trail Blazers general manager Joe Cronin released this statement:
“We have been clear that we want Dame here but he notified us today he wants out and he’d prefer to play someplace else. What has not changed for us is that we’re committed to winning and we are going to do what’s best for the team in pursuit of that goal.”
The baby Blazers look to defend their Summer League title starting this Friday in Las Vegas.
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