One full month has gone by since Damian Lillard requested a trade from the Portland Trail Blazers, and there still appears to be no resolution in sight. It’s been made clear that Lillard’s overwhelming preference is to join forces with Bam Adebayo and Jimmy Butler on the Miami Heat, but the Blazers are willing to let this process play out, with general manager Joe Cronin saying he’s comfortable with this taking “months” to resolve.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN laid out the current problem that the Portland faces: There’s apparently only one team that’s making a serious offer to try and get Lillard, and it’s the Heat.
"As I look across the league and have conversations with executives and agents, I can't identify another team that is seriously making an offer for Damian Lillard at this point. My belief is that the Heat can't either."
— Brian Windhorstpic.twitter.com/gQ1eZGgLRd
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) August 1, 2023
“The real thing about the Heat, guys, is that as I look across the league and have conversations with executives and agents, I can’t identify another team that is seriously making an offer for Dame Lillard at this point,” Windhorst said. “And so, my belief is that the Heat can’t either. And so while people can look at what the Heat’s offer might be and scoff at it, if their offer is the only one on the table, it therefore is the best one on the table, and the fact that Portland isn’t going forward with anything is a verification of that, that they don’t have another offer. So, very low incentive for the Heat to improve their offer at this point, and no incentive, really, right now, for Portland to take that offer.”
It’s been indicated, both in reporting and in comments from his agent Aaron Goodwin, that Lillard wouldn’t be happy if he ended up anywhere other than Miami, to the point that league spoke to Lillard and Goodwin before sending out a memo to teams on the subject of players trying to force their way to specific places. Having said that, if no one other than the Heat are trying to make a serious offer here, it’s easy to say that these efforts by Lillard’s camp have worked to an extent. The problem with that, however, comes from Portland’s desire to get a monster package back for Lillard and their apparent resolve in this situation, because if there is no market for him outside of Miami, it’s easy for the Blazers to sit back, point out that he’s under contract through at least 2025-26, and let this play out.