On Friday afternoon, Damian Lillard publicly clarified that he has not requested a trade, and expects to be in a Portland Trailblazers jersey next season; however, many believe that a breakup between Dame and the Blazers is inevitable. Because of this, DraftKings Sportsbook released the betting odds for which team Damian Lillard will begin the 2021-22 NBA season on.
While Lillard clarified that he expects to remain a Blazer next season, he made numerous comments that indicated his dissatisfaction with their current roster. Lillard, who just recently turned 31, is one of the best players in the NBA and is in the prime of his career. Dame has spent nine seasons with the Portland Trailblazers, and has seemingly reached a point in his career where pursuing a championship is his unrivaled top priority. Dame made that clear on Friday when he stated that a new coach is not going to take this current Blazers roster to a championship level, essentially putting pressure on Portland's management to improve their roster if they want to keep him.
With the Portland Trailblazers operating with limited cap space and the restrictions that come with being in a small market, many believe that the team will be unable to build a roster that Dame will be satisfied with. If Lillard were to get traded, DraftKings has the Lakers with +1600 odds to land Dame, and the Clippers right behind them at +1800. These are the 7th and 8th best odds respectively, trailing the Knicks, 76ers, Warriors, Heat, Mavericks, and Celtics.
With both LA teams being a seemingly perfect basketball fit for Lillard, why are both of their odds so low? While star players of Dame's caliber often have the leverage on where they would like to be traded to, the organization ultimately has the final say. For this reason, it is hard to imagine the Clippers or Lakers being able to put together a trade package for Lillard that the Portland Trailblazers would even consider.
Unless Damian Lillard comes out and says he wants to be traded to Los Angeles and nowhere else, it is difficult to imagine a scenario where Dame starts next season in Staples Center.