The Damian Lillard tenure in Portland came to an end on Wednesday when the Trail Blazers shipped the seven-time All-Star to the Milwaukee Bucks.
The move sent shock waves through the NBA nearly three months after Lillard requested a trade out of Portland.
Lillard had expressed his desire to land with the Miami Heat, a spot that Portland refused to engage with since July, according to Bleacher Report.
HEAT’S JIMMY BUTLER SAYS BUCKS SHOULD BE PROBED FOR TAMPERING AFTER DAMIAN LILLARD TRADE
“How this summer played out behind the scenes definitely left a sour taste in my mouth,” Lillard told Bleacher Report. “But it doesn’t change the amazing experiences I’ve had with the Trail Blazers and this city. I’ll always cherish this place. This is my home. I’ll always live here regardless.”
Following Lillard’s trade request on July 1, Portland general manager Joe Cronin made it clear that the organization would seek to find the best deal for their future, and that the team was willing to wait in order to make that happen.
“I think what I’ve learned more than anything is patience is critical. Don’t be reactive, don’t jump at things to seemingly solve a problem,” Cronin said in July. “I think the teams that have ended up in the most positive situations post-trade have been the ones that have been really diligent in taking their time and not been impulsive, or the teams that really kept their urgency under control.
“So, I think that’s how my approach has been with this and will be with this. We’re going to be patient. We’re going to do what’s best for our team. We’re going to see how this lands and if it takes months, it takes months.”
As the weeks and months wore on, the relationship between Lillard and the organization grew strained, according to the report.
On September 5th, Lillard met with Cronin, and “knew then he was unlikely to end up in Miami.” Lillard told Cronin that he would prefer to rescind his trade request and return to the Trail Blazers if a deal with the Heat could not be worked out.
Cronin responded to Lillard by saying there was “no coming back” after the trade request, per Bleacher Report.
Ultimately, Lillard and his agent decided that the Bucks and the Brooklyn Nets would also be suitable landing spots for the seven-time All-Star.
Lillard will now have an opportunity to play with two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo on a team that won 58 games and entered the 2022-23 NBA Playoffs as the one-seed in the Eastern Conference.
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