As the NBA calendar approaches the start of training camp, trade talks surrounding Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard could pick up in a race to complete a deal before the season starts.
But it’s still Miami Heat or bust in terms of a trade partner for the seven-time All-Star, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. Appearing on Bally Sports’ show “The Rally,” Charania reported the only two training camps Lillard would report to this fall are Miami or Portland.
“Expect Portland and Miami to re-engage before the start of training camps here coming up in the next two-and-a-half weeks. Really at this point, I’m told the only two training camps that Damian Lillard would report to, in theory, [are] Portland and Miami. So if a team like Toronto, for instance, were to trade for a Damian Lillard, I do not believe Lillard would even report. I believe that standing trade request would still be there if he were to be traded to a team like Toronto or anyone else that really wants to take a chance at this situation, and so, I think teams around the league since this trade request in early July, they’ve understood a guy like Damian Lillard, at the age of 33, with $216 million left on his deal over the next four seasons, him joining their program and wanting a trade immediately is incredibly unideal. You look at this situation, the one thing you keep coming back to is Miami and Portland — are they going to be able to get a deal done or not? And the league has really been on pause since early July with a lot of the major moves. Everyone’s been waiting on this and we’re still waiting to see what exactly happens with Damian Lillard, Portland and potentially Miami.”
Since July 1 when Lillard shook up the NBA off-season with his trade request, most of the messaging coming from media and Lillard’s agent Aaron Goodwin has been the star only wants to be traded to Miami. In late July, the NBA sent out a memo to all 30 teams stating Lillard could face punishment if he or Goodwin indicated, publicly or privately, to teams that Lillard would “not fully perform the services called for under his player contract in the event of a trade.” After that, Goodwin walked back his previous comments and the rigid “Miami only” stance.
Yet, if Charania’s latest reporting is correct, Lillard’s stance on only playing for the Heat in the event of a trade hasn’t changed after all.
To add a local perspective to this matter, the Rose Garden Report’s Sean Highkin said today in a tweet he believes Lillard would report to any franchise’s training camp if he ended up there in a trade.
From the beginning I've never bought the idea that Dame would hold out if he's traded somewhere besides Miami. Still don't buy it.— Sean Highkin (@highkin) September 11, 2023
Training camp for the Blazers and most of the league is set to start on Oct. 3.