It has already been two months since Damian Lillard requested a trade out of Portland, which was the first time in his career that he’s asked his front office to help him find a new home to further pursue his dream of someday becoming an NBA champion.
His decision created so much commotion in this summer’s transfer market that the NBA felt the need to warn the Blazers star and his agent about making their desires public.
“Recent media reports stated that Damian Lillard’s agent, Aaron Goodwin, called multiple NBA teams to warn them against trading for Lillard because Lillard’s only desired trade destination is Miami,” reporter Chris Haynes wrote last month, after the league had sent a memo to all 30 team regarding their initiative.
NBA insider predicts Damian Lillard will join Miami Heat before training camp: https://t.co/7YEnBo8axp
— Heat Nation (@HeatNationCom) August 31, 2023
An NBA executive, who preferred to remain anonymous, assured that the reason there’s been little progress in the Oregon franchise’s negotations for Lillard, is because not a lot of team have lined up interested in traded for the veteran star.
“I don’t think anyone likes the idea of Dame coming in and forcing the Blazers’ hand like this, forcing them to take a deal from a team that does not have the assets,” an NBA front-office executive told insider Sean Deveney.
“That’s a bad precedent, and it is one we are seeing too much of. But if Dame had not said, ‘Miami or nothing,’ where else was Portland really going to go for a deal? Maybe Brooklyn? But where else? There’s not that many teams that are going to give you a bunch of players and picks for a 33-year-old who can’t stay healthy and has a giant contract sitting there,” he added.
The source believes that part of the problem is that Damian was so explicit about just wanting to play in Miami next season, that it has closed many doors around him.
“Of course, owners don’t want players picking their trade destination and shutting out the other 28 teams,” he explained. “But it was not anything Dame said or Aaron Goodwin said that shut down the market. That stuff didn’t help. But there weren’t teams lined up for him even before that.”
NBA insider remains confident that the veteran star will be a part of the South Beach roster by October’s training camp
Lillard, who is arguably coming off the best season of his career, just wants a chance to contend for the NBA title. Last campaign he put up averages of 32.2 points and 7.3 assists per match, even though the Trail Blazers missed out on the playoffs.
Marc J. Spears was asked this week by sports columnist Bill Oram if he thought that the 33-year-old would participate this upcoming training camp in Miami. The NBA insider is convinced the deal is bound to happen.
“Yes. Yeah…I think it gets done…That’s my prediction. I’m going to stick with it,” Spears said.
On the other hand, reports are suggesting that Trail Blazers general manager Joe Cronin continues to ask for four first-round draft picks and at least one quality player in return.
“Meanwhile, as of early this week, Portland was still showing no interest in doing a deal with Heat, who visit Blazers in late Feb. in what is reportedly Portland’s only national TV game. To me, Lillard has much of leverage based on how messy he’s willing to make this (unknown),” reporter Barry Jackson posted on social media.