It’s been nearly three weeks since Lillard’s trade request.
When reports surfaced on July 1 that guard Damian Lillard requested a trade from the Portland Trail Blazers, one thing was clear: Lillard’s top option was the Miami Heat.
Nearly three weeks later, little progress has been made between the two parties and the Heat have grown “frustrated” over the pace at which the trade talks are occurring, Bleacher Report NBA insider Chris Haynes said Friday on the latest episode of his podcast, “This League Uncut.”
“Portland is telling them to, ‘Bring us your best offer.’ Miami would like to know what does Portland want and Miami is not getting that answer,” Haynes said. “They feel like things could be moving on a little bit quicker if Portland would say exactly what it is they want because, obviously, Miami doesn’t have all the assets that Portland would want in a return for a Damian Lillard trade. So they want to know, ‘Okay, what do we have to get out there? What other teams do we have to get involved to make this work?’ And so far, the communication is just not there.”
Blazers general manager Joe Cronin has been open about his willingness to wait. Last week, Cronin said at an NBA Summer League press conference that if “it takes months, it takes months,” indicating that there’s no rush from Portland’s end to make any deal.
“We’re going to be patient,” he said. “We’re going to do what’s best for our team. We’re going to see, you know, how this lands.
“What the rest of his career looks like matters to us, and we care about that. At the same time, we have to do what’s best for us, and we’ve got to find the right deal and find the right makeup of the team that we’re going to go forward with.
“So you hope that you can find that perfect situation where that lines up, and he goes to a place that he wants to, and you get the best return possible. It’s complicated, and usually, it doesn’t work out just like that.”
On the Heat Check Podcast, Heat reporter and insider Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald mentioned that a source told him they’re not “convinced that Portland wants to trade” Lillard, who has four years and $216 million left on his deal with a $63.2 million player option for the 2026-27 season.
Here is what Chiang said, according to NBC Sports’ Kurt Helin:
“Right now, it just seems like this is gonna take a while. Someone even told me which I thought was interesting, and I don’t know if I buy it 100%, but someone told me that has some knowledge of kind of what’s going on, they’re not even convinced Portland wants to trade Damian Lillard at this point, like it almost feels like they’re trying to find a way to like, maybe change his mind or it just takes a while and delay this and see if Damian’s like ‘Well, I’ll be part of this’. So a lot of weird things going on.”
While the Blazers are reportedly, and understandably asking for “four first-round picks and two quality players” in the deal, the two sides obviously haven’t found a middle ground since the seven-time All-Star doesn’t have any trade market outside of Miami.
Whether it takes weeks, or indeed months, it’s best for both sides to avoid taking these discussions into training camp—which usually begins in late September—or even the regular season in mid-October.
Lillard, 33, averaged 32.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 7.3 assists on 46.3 percent shooting and 37.1 percent from 3-point range in 58 games.