Insider Name-Drops Suns Amid Damian Lillard Trade Rumors

Getty Images Damian Lillard (left) of the Portland Trail Blazers and Kevin Durant of the Phoenix Suns.

Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard officially requested this offseason a trade from the franchise that drafted him. Lillard’s list of preferred destinations is extremely short. It consists of just one team – the reigning Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat. But Lillard will not be a free agent until 2027 after signing an extension. So, the Blazers do not have to trade him.

According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, if the Heat want to acquire Lillard, they will have to send the Trail Blazers a trade package that mirrors what the Phoenix Suns sent the Brooklyn Nets to land Kevin Durant in February.

“What the Blazers want, if they’re dealing with one team — if it is Miami or nothing — they want what the Nets got from the Suns, which is the Suns literally scrounging,” Windhorst said on a recent episode of his “The Hoop Collective” podcast.

“They want the Heat to literally scrounge into every nook and cranny and produce everything they possibly can,” Windhorst said. “The Heat don’t feel a need to do that.”

Damian Lillard Praises Suns’ ‘Monster 3′

The Suns took a risk in sending such a gargantuan trade package to Brooklyn to acquire Durant. Especially because that same roster got them to the NBA Finals in 2021. But the risk paid off for the Phoenix front office.

Landing Durant was the catalyst in helping them acquire Bradley Beal in June, and they have now formed the newest superteam in the NBA. Lillard, who is looking to form a title contender of his own, had nothing but high praise for the “monster three” in Phoenix.

“That’s definitely a big 3. You get Brad Beal, Book, KD. I mean, that’s a monster three. I think it will be fun to watch. They’ll win a lot of games — and the goal is to win. As players of their level, it just has to click. They’ve got to connect. It wouldn’t surprise me if they did click, but that’s the most important thing is being able to click out there and to be able to work together towards winning,” Lillard said to the Arizona Republic’s Duane Rankin in August.

“It’ll be fun to watch. For me, as a fan of basketball and the NBA — and for fans out there, I’m sure it’s extremely exciting for them.”

Kevin Durant Sends Message to Sports Bettors

Sports betting has become so popular that it seems as if new sportsbooks are launched every week. The new NBA collective bargaining agreement even allows players to buy into sportsbooks as long as the investments are passive and the player’s equity isn’t more than 1% of the gambling entity, per Sportico.

Durant has already begun reaping the benefits of sports gambling as an athlete after partnering with sportsbook mega-giant FanDuel in 2021. But the star forward has found another way to get a kick out of the new-found hobby.

Durant has never shied away from conflict with fans. And now that those same fans are depending on him to cash their bets, the Suns’ star is relishing the opportunity to see them fail.

“When them parlays don’t hit. This is for years of slander from NBA fans, I’m grateful I have this much power now,” Durant tweeted.


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