Julius Erving approves Damian Lillard wanting out, doesn’t respect Kevin Durant switching teams so often

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NBA legend Julius Erving commented on Damian Lillard’s trade request from the Portland Trail Blazers this offseason.

“Well, wherever he goes, he probably will finish his career because of his age and the fact that he’s played 12, 13 years,” Erving said. “And he wants to have a chance at winning a championship. And he doesn’t think he can get it there. So, that’s a good reason.”

Lillard, who was drafted by the Blazers, has shown his loyalty to the franchise for years, but Portland has failed him in recent seasons at building a contender.

The team has not made the playoffs in back-to-back seasons, and the Blazers have traded away players like C.J. McCollum, Norman Powell, Josh Hart, Larry Nance Jr. and Robert Covington in the process as they try to rebuild their roster.

During the 2022-23 season, Lillard was great for the Blazers, but the team failed to even make the play-in tournament in the Western Conference. A seven-time All-NBA selection, Lillard averaged 32.2 points and 7.3 assists per game while shooting 46.3 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from beyond the arc.

It makes sense that he’d like a chance to compete for a title rather than fall short of the postseason in Portland at this stage in his career.

Erving compared Lillard to Phoenix Suns star Kevin Durant, criticizing the Suns forward for how many times he’s switched teams.

“Look at how many times Durant has hopped around,” Erving said. “No, for real. OKC to Golden State to – where’d he go after that? Now he’s in Phoenix.”

Erving then shook his head when asked if he respects Durant moving to different teams so often.

Durant has switched teams a lot in his NBA career, signing with the Golden State Warriors prior to the 2016-17 season. He won two titles with Golden State and then left for the Brooklyn Nets before requesting a trade from the team prior to the 2022-23 season.

While it had looked like the two sides worked things out when Durant remained on the roster to start the campaign, Brooklyn ended up dealing him to Phoenix at the trade deadline.

Lillard and Durant have different career paths, but there is no doubt that both players have championships on their mind. Durant already has won two, but Lillard may need a new team to make his goal of winning a title a reality.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.