Damian Lillard's future with the Portland Trail Blazers is unknown right now. The point guard has been linked with a move away from the team since they got eliminated from the 2021 NBA playoff.
Much was made of this, but Dame has made it clear that he's staying in Portland. Although he sent an ambiguous message when addressing his situation with the Blazers, the 31-year-old said he expects to wear those colors next year.
However, that hasn't stopped rival teams from making plans to acquire Lillard's services this offseason. According to Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer, five teams are actively pursuing Dame during these days.
Few team executives expect a Dame deal to happen this offseason. But multiple front-office sources say the Heat, Kings, Knicks, Rockets, and Sixers have recently been the most aggressive suitors
Front-office executives say that if the Blazers eventually move Lillard, they can expect a return rivaling or surpassing what the Nets gave up for James Harden: multiple young players, plus three first-round picks and four first-round pick swaps. Harden is a former MVP, but he had only two guaranteed seasons left on his contract at the time of the trade. Portland could do even better because Lillard has four seasons remaining on his contract worth a grand total of $176 million. The long-term security in Lillard’s contract could lead to more interest from teams and more return in a trade.
Nobody knows what will happen with Dame, but most people believe he's living his last days as a Blazer. Time will tell if he requests a trade, or the team will enter a new chapter and part with their star before he forces his way out.
This is one of the biggest sagas of the NBA off-season. Dame won't miss suitors for his services, but only one team will get one of the best players in the league.