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After the Cleveland Cavaliers granted Kyrie Irving’s request to be traded Aug. 22, 2017, LeBron James wanted the Cavs’ front office to make a deal for Damian Lillard.
According to Ric Bucher of Bleacher Report, James asked the Cleveland braintrust to pursue Lillard, the All-Star point guard of the Portland Trail Blazers. In March, James expressed his appreciation for Lillard.
“Give me Damian Lillard, I’ll show you how appreciated he’ll be,” James said.
However, according to Bucher, Cleveland execs never placed a call to Portland.
The Lakers structured their salary cap to make sure they would have space next summer for a maximum-salaried player—whether he comes via free agency or trade. League sources say that when James became convinced Irving couldn’t be persuaded to stay in Cleveland, he suggested to the Cavs front office that it deal Irving to the Blazers for All-Star point guard Damian Lillard. The Cavs never called the Blazers, but James’ interest has led to speculation about the Lakers trading for Lillard.
For his part, Lillard told Bucher he is more than happy as the face of the franchise of the Trail Blazers.
“I love where I am,” Lillard said. “I play for a great organization. I’m not looking for nothing. I think we’d complement each other well, but the only way that ever happens is if my team decides they don’t want me no more. I’m trying to build something here.”
With Irving in Boston, Lillard in Portland, James signed a four-year, $154 million free-agent contract with the Lakers in July.