As the NBA’s unofficial late-summer break wraps up, there’s a potential for more teams to enter trade talks with the Portland Trail Blazers regarding Damian Lillard.
While the Miami Heat have been the primary suitor for Damian Lillard, as the new season approaches, there’s a slight chance that other teams could become more actively involved in trade discussions.
Even though both Lillard and the Blazers have made preparations for him to participate in the early October training camp in Portland, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski hints at the possibility of additional conversations taking place as Portland’s general manager, Joe Cronin, and his team continue to reject offers from Miami.
The NBA offseason has been relatively quiet, especially in recent weeks, with limited significant developments since the early days of free agency in July, according to Wojnarowski.
However, as teams’ executives return from vacation, players begin preparing for training camp, and normal operations resume, there’s an anticipation of increased trade discussions between the Portland Trail Blazers and potential suitors in the coming weeks, with the training camp start serving as the next significant deadline.
“I think you can expect there’ll be more conversations w/ Portland & perspective teams over the next few weeks than there were over the last couple months. The next real deadline is the start of training camp. You could expect Blazers to talk to teams again before then”- @wojespn pic.twitter.com/1AZUTwgt2U
— Dru (@dru_star) September 7, 2023
Damian Lillard formally requested a trade from the Portland Trail Blazers on July 1st, with a clear desire to join the Miami Heat.
While his public preference to team up with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo may have dampened trade interest, it’s also evident that Portland, which notably struggled in the second half of the past two seasons, delayed in making Lillard available to other potential suitors.
The question arises: How many teams are realistically in a position to offer multiple first-round picks and promising young players in exchange for a 33-year-old point guard who prioritizes offense and has a substantial $63 million contract in 2026-27?
It’s apparent that a veteran, championship-contending team like Miami, known for its willingness to pay the luxury tax, always appeared as the most suitable destination for Lillard.
However, this situation might have been different if Portland had placed him on the trade market before Lillard signed his lucrative contract extension last summer, or even earlier when GM Joe Cronin began reshaping the team’s core at the 2022 trade deadline.
As summer draws to a close, there’s a possibility that other teams might finally express interest in Damian Lillard. However, it remains highly doubtful whether any offer the Blazers receive will surpass the attractiveness of Miami’s current proposal.