It finally happened. On Saturday, July 1, Damian Lillard requested a trade from the Portland Trail Blazers. A move that has been in the making for the better part of a half-decade and one that has been an engine of sports studio content when there isn't much else going on. At this point I'm quite confident that talking about where Dame could end up has been a much more profitable and engaging exercise than the analysis of where he actually ends up will be.
Thankfully it means we can all stop talking about it. Photoshops of Lillard in a Lakers jersey can be shelved (for a few years, at least). We will get to stop hearing Lillard repeat the same points about loyalty to Portland a dozen times every calendar year. This writer can finally stop using ESPN's trade machine to cook up trade scenarios during the doldrums of the sports calendar.
I can't lie to you all-- I'm tired of it. Lillard is a tremendous offensive player and one of the clutchest players ever. He's great and seeing him playing games that matter with a legit shot to win a title will be wonderful. But I would love if this trade got done quickly so the discourse can end. Or at least shift.
I mean, think about it. Damian Lillard trade discourse has basically dominated the last three summers of the NBA. In part because the theory of the Lillard trade has collectively captured everybody's consciousness in a way few theoretical trades have. And in part because whether or not he would finally ask out has been largely more interesting than anything that's actually happened. It's a lot easier for casual fans to constantly drive Lillard trade talking points than breaking down which team needs a backup big man.
No longer. It's all over. We can think about other players and teams. We can even still think about Lillard but through a lens we've never thought about him before. And for this, I am thankful. The carousel with the Blazers was never going to end and it seemed like Lillard would be there for the whole ride. Instead he's asking off, somehow both against and in line with everybody's expectation.
The quicker the trade gets done the quicker we get to put this all behind us. We can talk about things other than Damian Lillard! What a world. So get after it, Portland. Please. Before Lillard has time to change his mind and write a Players' Tribune article about loyalty.