Damian Lillard is throwing in the towel in Portland -- the guy just requested a trade from his longtime team, the Trailblazers, and word is ... he wants to go southeast.
News broke Saturday that the PG asked Portland brass for a one-way ticket out of the franchise, and per NBA insider Shams Charania -- he's angling for a deal to be made with the Miami Heat specifically. Woj is reporting the Blazers will try to accommodate him.
Now, while Dame has apparently made his desired landing spot clear ... what remains to be seen is if he actually ends up going there. Woj is also reporting that other interested parties include the Clippers and 76ers ... that the Blazers will get as much as they can for DL.
In other words, if the Heat turn out to be a team that can't give them the most bang for their buck (draft picks/young players) ... they'll go elsewhere, and Dame could end up back in the west again, despite a reported interest in moving to the East Coast. Business 101.
Now, while a lot of Blazers fans are lamenting losing the bona fide face of the franchise -- who's been incredibly loyal to Portland for years now -- this is actually a move many anticipated in the wake of the team drafting Scoot Henderson recently ... an up-and-coming point guard who has a lot of potential and who the Blazers clearly want to replace Dame.
Many took that pick as a not-so-subtle message to Dame ... namely, it's time for you to go big dawg. For a minute, there was an unspoken game of chicken going on as to who'd blink first. As it turns out, Dame pulled the trigger and got the message -- time to move on.
Another element at play here that's made it difficult for the Blazers to sign other good players over the years is the fact that he signed a cash-rich supermax deal with the team a few years ago ... and while he's said he was dedicated to bringing them a championship, the reality is -- that was likely never going to happen with their salary cap issues.
All that fealty, and now ... it's over. The end of an era in the PNW!