The NBA has informed all 30 teams that they conducted interviews with Damian Lillard, the All-Star player from the Portland Trail Blazers, and his agent, Aaron Goodwin. The purpose of these interviews was to discuss Lillard’s desire to play exclusively for the Miami Heat.
The league has cautioned both Lillard and Goodwin against making any future statements that suggest Lillard would not fulfill his contractual obligations in the event of a trade. Such comments by players or agents will be met with disciplinary action.
Lillard officially requested to be traded from the Trail Blazers, with his preferred destination being the Miami Heat, on July 1. The talented player had an outstanding season, achieving a career-best average of 32.2 points per game, along with 7.3 assists and 4.8 rebounds in 58 games.
What is in the memo?
Full NBA memo sent to all 30 teams regarding rhetoric on trade request made by Damian Lillard and his agent Aaron Goodwin.
“Recent media reports stated that Damian Lillard’s agent, Aaron Goodwin, called multiple NBA teams to warn them against trading for Lillard because Lillard’s only desired trade destination is Miami. Goodwin also made public comments indicating that Lillard would not fully perform the services called for under his player contract if traded to another team.
We interviewed Goodwin and Lillard and also spoke with several NBA teams to whom Goodwin spoke. Goodwin denied stating or indicating to any team that Lillard would refuse to play for them. Goodwin and Lillard affirmed to us that Lillard would fully perform the services called for under his player contract in any trade scenario. The relevant teams provided descriptions of their communications with Goodwin that were mostly, though not entirely, consistent with Goodwin’s statements to us.
We have advised Goodwin and Lillard that any future comments, made privately to teams or publicly, suggesting Lillard will not fully perform the services called for under his player contract in the event of a trade will subject Lillard to discipline by the NBA. We also have advised the Players Association that any similar comments by players or their agents will be subject to discipline going forward.”
What Impact Would This Have on The Portland Trail Blazers?
The recent NBA memo has strengthened the Portland Trail Blazers’ resolve to secure the best possible trade deal for their franchise. They refuse to be constrained by Lillard’s request to play only for the Miami Heat.
Although Blazers’ General Manager Joe Cronin holds great admiration for Lillard and has a history of helping players find favorable landing spots (like CJ McCollum and Josh Hart), he is determined not to compromise the team’s bargaining power or be taken advantage of due to Lillard’s ultimatum. Ideally, Cronin would prefer to keep Lillard in Portland, but he recognizes that if a trade is inevitable, his priority is to make decisions that benefit the Blazers.
The memo from the NBA reinforces Portland’s position, supporting the idea of open bidding for Lillard’s rights and sending a message to other players and agents that attempting similar tactics won’t be tolerated. This puts the Blazers in a stronger position to navigate the trade negotiations with confidence and protect their interests.