After an intense three-month period of trade negotiations, the Milwaukee Bucks emerged as the victors in the Damian Lillard sweepstakes, despite Lillard’s previous connections to teams such as the Boston Celtics, Knicks, Raptors, and his preferred choice, the Miami Heat.
However, the drama following the trade continues to unfold, and the latest revelation is that Damian Lillard had considered withdrawing his trade request and staying with the Portland Trail Blazers, but Joe Cronin, the general manager, declined this option.
According to Chris Haynes of the Bleacher Report, Damian Lillard was prepared to retract his trade request and make a return to the Portland Trail Blazers if an agreement couldn’t be reached with the Miami Heat, but Joe Cronin firmly informed him that the door had already been firmly closed, and there was no turning back.
“ Lillard then said if a deal couldn’t be worked out with the Heat, he would prefer to rescind his trade request and return to the Trail Blazers.
Cronin’s response to the seven-time All-Star was that there was no coming back.
Lillard was shocked, sources said. He said it was discouraging to hear he couldn’t return, but added that he didn’t want to be somewhere he wasn’t wanted, and he ended the meeting.
Lillard was still hopeful a deal with the Heat was within reach. However, he had to face the realization that he might not be moved.
So on Sept. 11, he started showing up at the Trail Blazers’ practice facility to work out. He went in for eight days. He said Cronin did not address him once. “ Chris Haynes wrote
The situation indeed takes an intriguing twist. In a post-match interview during the summer league back in July, Joe Cronin conveyed a clear message, stating, the goal’s always to have Dame as a Trail Blazer.
“The goal’s always to have Dame as a Trail Blazer. It always was and always will be… We’re very open-minded to anytime Dame wants to be a part of us.”
– Joe Cronin at Summer League. Someone is not telling the truth here lol. pic.twitter.com/Uyemi3bQuY
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) September 29, 2023
However, the recent report from Chris Haynes paints a contrasting picture. It suggests that Joe Cronin firmly closed the door on Damian Lillard’s desire to remain in Portland after his attempt to stay, following the failed Miami deal.
Your Verdict ?
Damian Lillard, 33, found himself on the Milwaukee Bucks through a complex three-team trade that also involved the Portland Trail Blazers and the Phoenix Suns.
In this three-way deal, Lillard joined Milwaukee along with Jrue Holiday, Deandre Ayton, Toumani Camara, an unprotected 2029 first-round draft pick, and unrestricted swap rights for Milwaukee’s 2028 and 2030 picks that went to the Blazers.
On the other side, Phoenix acquired Jusuf Nurkic, Grayson Allen, Nassir Little, and Keon Johnson.