Report: Damian Lillard market outside of Miami Heat remains dry

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It’s been over two months since Portland Trail Blazers star point guard Damian Lillard requested a trade to the Miami Heat, yet he’s still a member of the former.

But a recent report should have Heat fans feeling optimistic about the team’s chances of acquiring Lillard. The trade market for Lillard beyond the Heat reportedly remains dry.

“The belief inside the league remains that suitors beyond the Heat are reluctant to enter discussions regarding a player who has made clear a single preferred destination and who, at his age, is owed $216 million over the next four seasons,” Ira Winderman wrote.

Lillard, 33, was selected with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft after four seasons playing college basketball at Weber State University. He averaged over 11 points per game in each of his four seasons as a Wildcat, including 24.5 points per game as a senior.

Lillard’s contributions during his senior season, the 2011-12 season, led to a whole lot of wins for the Wildcats. They finished the season with an excellent 25-7 record but missed out on the NCAA Tournament.

The 6-foot-2 point guard has played 11 seasons in the NBA, all as a member of the Trail Blazers franchise. He averaged a career-high 32.2 points along with 4.8 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game in 58 games played during the 2022-23 regular season (all starts).

Those numbers were good enough for Lillard to earn an All-Star nod, the seventh of his pro career.

The Trail Blazers had an underwhelming 2022-23 regular season, though. They finished the season with a subpar 33-49 record, the third-worst record in the entire Western Conference, ahead of only the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs.

But the 2022-23 season is far from the only underwhelming Trail Blazers season Lillard has been part of. In his decade-plus stint with the franchise, he has reached the second round of the playoffs just three times and the Western Conference Finals once.

In the one Western Conference Finals that Lillard played in back in 2019, the Trail Blazers got embarrassed by Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors swept Portland in four games, and Lillard shot 37.1 percent from the field for the series.

Here’s to hoping that the Heat will be able to acquire Lillard before the start of the 2023-24 regular season next month.

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Jesse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA.