Damian Lillard has remained loyal to the Trail Blazers throughout his career, and he wants to remain in Portland as long as the organization remains committed to winning in the present. But, if he were to be traded over the offseason in order to jumpstart a rebuild, he has a couple of preferred destinations in mind.
When asked about a hypothetical trade during an appearance on Showtime's The Last Stand with Brian Custer, Lillard listed Miami and Brooklyn as two landing spots that he would be cool with, thanks largely to the presence of players already on those rosters.
"Miami obviously," Lillard said. "Miami is the obvious one. Bam [Adebayo] is my dog. Bam is my dog for real. But I mean I think Miami is the obvious one. Brooklyn is another obvious one because Mikal Bridges is my dog too. I mean, both have capable rosters."
You can see Lillard's comments on the matter below:
Lillard has made it clear time and again over the years that his first choice would be to play his entire career with the Blazers, and that hasn't changed.
"I want to have an opportunity to win in Portland…We got an opportunity, asset-wise, to build a team that can compete," Lillard said. "If we can't do that, then, you know, obviously, like I've said, you know, for months now, like then this is a separate conversation that we would have to have."
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Portland possesses the third overall pick in the upcoming 2023 NBA Draft, and they can pursue two different paths. They can look to trade the pick to acquire established talent in order to build the roster up around Lillard, or they could go in the opposite direction -- hit the restart button, keep the pick, and trade Lillard for young players and/or future picks and embrace a rebuild.
Between now and draft day (June 22), the Blazers will have to decide which direction they want to go in. If it's the latter, then we may have already seen Lillard play his last game in a Portland uniform.