OK, I have to confess. I, like many of you probably, am sick and tired of the Dame drama. Enough already man we get it. At the same time, I can't stop blogging it because every update we get is funnier than the last. Yesterday's news was that Dame's agent was calling teams around the league and essentially threatening them to not trade for his client. Not a new tactic, it's been done before and it'll be done again, and at the end of yesterday's blog I had this prediction
What's next you think? I bet we get the "sit out" threat. That's the next card you play if the "unhappy" one didn't work to truly scare off other teams. I can't wait to check back tomorrow to find out!
Well my friends, let's have a look
"‘He just wouldn’t go,’ a person familiar with Lillard’s thinking told Sportsnaut. ‘He just wouldn’t report.'… ‘I don’t think the other team would trade for him knowing that he doesn’t want to be there,’ the person familiar with Lillard’s thinking told Sportsnaut. ‘He’s a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer, so they should respect his wishes.
I mean if this wasn't the most predictable thing of all time than I don't know what is. We've seen this situation play out with stars before, so why would anyone think Dame would be different? You knew the sit out threat was coming up next. Who knew that after all this time at the end of the day Dame would just go the James Harden route? Think of how people slander Harden for the shit he pulls when he wants to demand a trade and force his way to a certain team. Never in a million years would I think Damian Lillard of all people would potentially be doing the same shit.
Is it a bluff? Probably, but this is how the game works. Who cares that he's under contract? Who cares that he was the one that made the decision to accept the Blazers' max money in exchange for the privilege of choosing where he wanted to play, which is sort of the point. You give up your right to decide where you want to play and in return, the Blazers give you $200M more dollars. Seems like a fair trade in my humble opinion.
So when you're trying to force your way to a certain team that has a package the Blazers might not love, you first leak that you're going to be unhappy. Maybe that's enough to scare away teams. When the Blazers still don't budge, you take things up a level and say you'll just never report and will sit out. I'm sorry, but that is about as lame as it gets. What happened to being a professional and not running from the grind and all that? So even if the team that ends up trading for Dame is someone with a chance to contend, something he himself said was all he wanted, Dame still sits out unless that team is MIA?
Again, I don't really have a problem with Dame asking for a trade. That's his right. And I do think if he was trying to force his way to your favorite team, you probably wouldn't be upset or think this is ruining the league. But on one hand we can't kill James Harden or Ben Simmons for pulling this exact move and then turn the other way when Dame does it. It was fucked when those guys did it and it's fucked if this is really true with Dame.
Which is why if I'm the Blazers or any other team, I call this bluff. Given his age, is Dame really going to sit out when the season starts? So he won't be at camp, who cares? I'm pretty sure he won't forget how to play basketball. On some level, the rest of the league has to make sure this doesn't exactly become the new way of life. Guys signing max deals and then forcing their way to one specific team even if the package isn't great and then they sit out if they don't get what they want? David Stern would never allow this shit. Hell, Kawhi didn't want to go to TOR and he sucked it up and won a title, because he's that guy. Is Dame just not that guy?
So now that the sitting out training camp threat is out there, I still don't think we're done. The next logical step of course is this moves into sitting out regular season games. You may think this is all pathetic and a terrible look for Dame, but I'll remind you this tactic is highly successful. Harden got what he wanted right? Simmons got what he wanted right? The same is going to happen with Dame. That's simply how this all works, and he's just following the blueprint.
Nothing would be funnier than calling this bluff though. Let's see how nuts Dame truly wants to get