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There Is Potentially A World Where Damian Lillard Could Sit Out If He Doesn't Get Traded To The Heat

Stephen Gosling. Getty Images.

If you thought all the Damian Lillard drama was finally over because he formally requested a trade, I have some bad news. All we've done is swap the "will Dame demand a trade" updates/news/drama that hit our timeline 5,000 times a day with "where is Dame going" updates/news/drama that hits our timelines 5,000 times a day. The only way this truly stops is the Blazers pulling the trigger on something and the saga finally ends.

We're not there yet, and who knows when that time will come. I can't imagine it drags on too long, but then again the Blazers certainly don't need to rush such an important decision like this. They're basically making a choice on the future of their franchise, so it makes sense they take their time and go over every possible scenario that might be out there. We know what Dame wants, he wants to go to the Heat, but that doesn't mean the Blazers have to send him there (they probably will, let's not get silly).

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This whole situation comes down to one question. Do the Blazers do what's best for them or for Dame? There's the argument that after everything Dame has done for that city and that franchise that the team should do whatever they can do give Dame what he wants. Sort of weird when you consider Dame basically just threw a grenade and blew up the entire franchise, but there is that line of thinking.

The other argument is now that Dame isn't a Blazer, it's time for the Blazers to do what is best for them, Dame be damned. He doesn't have a no trade clause. Sure he can give them a general list but if there's a better deal out there for Dame that helps the Blazers rebuild, that's what they should do. If that's the Jazz, cool. If that's the Nets, cool. If that's the Heat, cool. The point is, it's time for the Blazers to start thinking for themselves.

As it turns out, it may not be as simple as the Blazers finding the best deal for them

Ah, the old Ben Simmons route of just refusing to play. Now this would start to annoy me as a Blazers fan. I get it, you've been there forever, gave everything you had to the franchise and it ultimately didn't work out so you demanded a trade. That's fine and good. Happens all the time in the NBA. But if that situation above is a legit possibility, that would infuriate me. Not only are you demanding a trade, but you're absolutely killing any and every potential offer that the team might want to do, something that might set them up well for the future all because you only want to go to the Heat?

Again, Dame doesn't have a no trade clause. It's not up to him. If he wanted it to be, negotiate a NTC in your extensions. He didn't, he had no problem taking the supermax money, and now he could basically hold the franchise hostage unless he gets what he wants? That's pretty lame. If there's somehow that KD return on the table from someone which again was

- Unprotected picks in 2023, 2025, 2027, 2029

- Pick swap in 1st round 2028

- 2nd round pick in 2028, 2029

and that deal is killed because Dame's camp says he's pulling a Ben Simmons and will just refuse to play, I mean holy shit. At that point if I'm the Blazers I think I'd just say fine, we aren't trading you, go ahead and sit out. It's not like the Blazers have to trade him, and it's not on them to accept 30 cents on the dollar just to do it. 

I guess it would all depend on what that mystery team is, but I just cannot see Dame wasting the last legs of his career and sitting out. Especially if that team is a legit title contender with him in the fold. I feel like that's career suicide for a guy that has been generally well-liked since he entered the league. Everything we've known about Dame as a competitor says there's no way he'd actually do this, but then again he spent a decade telling us he'd never demand a trade out of Portland and here we are. 

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Dame made it clear he now wants to run from the grind, so live with what the team decides. He has like 4 more guaranteed years left on his deal so it's not as if he has a ton of leverage right now, but NBA history has told us that doesn't really matter. Players of his caliber usually get what they want.

But is he truly willing to refuse to play somewhere unless it's the team he wants? That's what we're going to find out.