“Anything I have to say, I’m going to say it directly to Neil,” Lillard said
Perhaps, Lillard is ready to have that talk with Trail Blazers president Neil Olshey.
Now a source close to Lillard says that in the days to come, he plans to request a trade.
A superstar in his prime, Lillard requesting a trade would shake the NBA. He’d significantly swing the fortunes of any team that acquires him. Championships could hang in the balance. Portland would get a massive return, though an undesired transformation.
But will a trade actually happen?
Lillard hasn’t even begun a super-max contract extension worth $176,265,152 over the next four years. With Lillard locked in three years before a player option, the Trail Blazers have leverage. However, stars who request trades usually get moved. Lillard could make everything miserable in Portland. But that’d be so out of character for him. Not everyone has the stomach for those tactics.
Requesting a trade would be betrayal of all the times he touted his loyal to Portland. Though players have frequently reneged on those assurances, few have been as resolute in their commitment to a team. Lillard went out of his way to paint himself as an exception to the NBA’s star-team-up trend.
It has also seemed people around Lillard feel more strongly about him using his leverage than he does. Word of an impending trade request could be someone close to Lillard projecting his or her own values onto the star. There’s another step to Lillard himself actually making the demand.
But signs have trended this way for a while. This report is the strongest indication yet.
If Lillard gets traded, nobody can reasonably claim they didn’t see it coming.