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Damian Lillard addresses Heat trade speculation ahead of clash

Damian Lillard at Bucks media day

Oct 2, 2023; Milwaukee, WI, USA; Milwaukee Bucks guard Damian Lillard (0) poses for a picture during media day in Milwaukee. Mandatory Credit: Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Milwaukee Bucks guard Damian Lillard faces off Monday against the Miami Heat — the team many expected him to be on before the season began.

The Bucks will host the Heat at Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wis. one night following one of Lillard’s worst performances of his career in a 127-110 loss to the Atlanta Hawks in the same venue. The 7-time All-Star finished with just 6 points on 2-of-12 shooting to go along with 4 rebounds and 5 assists.

After the contest, Lillard was asked by a reporter if the game against the Heat would potentially be “awkward” given the offseason flirtation between player and team (4:24 mark).

“I’ve never played on their team,” Lillard told reporters after the game. “I mentioned it that was the destination for me when I asked to be traded last year, but I was traded here. I’m excited to be here, I’m happy to be here, I fit in great here.

“For me, personally, that was the end of it. I never thought about it again after that. So I’m not going into tomorrow like ‘this the team that I was supposed to be playing for’ or none of that.”

Lillard stated that he remains “cool” with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo ever since the former’s trade to the Bucks. The 6’2″ guard added that he never felt like he was ever “tied in” with the Heat despite the mutual interest.

Lillard’s agent has since addressed the Portland Trail Blazers’ failed trade talks with the Heat.

Failed trade aside, Lillard will likely be motivated against the Heat nonetheless in order to erase his poor showing on Sunday.

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