Damian Lillard trade talk has slowed down most places across the NBA, but not in Portland and Miami. The two principals in the presumed Lillard-to-Heat deal have the most at stake on the table. When it comes to this topic, their fans are nearly insatiable.
This week Brandon Di Perno of former SBNation Heat site (and current substack superstars) Hot Hot Hoops interviewed Managing Editor Dave Deckard about all things Lillard. You can find the complete interview here.
We don’t want to copy/paste all of their material, but here’s a small sample:
Hot Hot Hoops: How are you feeling personally about the way things have been handled by both Dame as well as the Trail Blazers front office? And what’s your pulse as to the way Blazers’ fans are feeling right now?
Dave Deckard: Each side is doing what they need to. The front office is doing the only thing they can: protect their prerogatives amid a storm of negative publicity. Dame is certainly within his rights to demand a trade to one team, as inconvenient as it is. It’s hard to find serious fault with either, at least from their own perspectives.
If Lillard and Aaron Goodwin did anything wrong, it was overestimating Dame’s stroke. He’s popular, but he’s not LeBron James. Goodwin played superstar cards in buffaloing other teams away from his client in favor of Miami. That brought the wrath of the NBA and debuffed Dame’s image a little. More discretion and a little less Paris Hiltoning would have helped.
I don’t know about the casual fan, but among informed devotees, Lillard fatigue is real. Nobody expects him back. If he does come back, nobody expects him to stay. Fans want to know what’s next, and what deal will get done. When that comes, they’ll be excited again. Absent that news, everybody has heard enough by now. We don’t need any more “Blazers Aren’t Budging” stories.
HHH: Do you think the trade request and the way it has been handled will impact Dame’s legacy in Portland?
DD: No. His number will be retired. He’ll be greeted with a standing ovation the first time he returns and huge cheers ever after. Everybody knows why Dame is leaving. It’s his choice for sure, but it’s not entirely his fault.
You can read the rest of the interview on their substack. How do you think Dave did? Would you have answered any differently?
As a matter of fact, here are the exact questions asked, without Dave’s responses. How would you answer these yourself? Take your best shot at any (or all) of them in the comments section below. Who knows? Your response may change our answer next time somebody asks!
- How are you feeling personally about the way things have been handled by both Dame as well as the Trail Blazers front office? And what’s your pulse as to the way Blazers’ fans are feeling right now?
- Do you think the trade request and the way it has been handled will impact Dame’s legacy in Portland?
- If no deal is reached, how do you think things play out in Portland? Are we seeing Vince Carter leaving TO 2.0, or something more reserved?
- If a deal is reached who from the Miami Heat would you like to see as a Blazer?
- I don’t think I’ve personally seen things handled this way by a player and agent before - and while less than explosive than James Harden’s demands this speaks to a new reality in the player empowerment era. What are your thoughts on that?
- If a deal is reached and Dame becomes a member of the Miami Heat, where does that move the Heat with respect to the current landscape of the East?
- If Dame is no longer a member of the Blazers, what should we expect from the team in the short term?
- I know many were confused by the Grant contract, and then drafting Scoot. Are you confident in the direction of the team right now?