Talk of a Damian Lillard trade had quieted down over the summer, but recent reports indicate that discussions have picked up as training camp approaches. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski revealed that the Portland Trail Blazers have been engaging with numerous teams in the past 10 to 14 days, exploring potential trades for Lillard. They are looking to acquire the assets they desire, such as draft picks and young players, in order to facilitate a trade. Additionally, some teams possess veteran players that the Blazers may not be interested in, but those players could be sent to Portland in exchange for young players or draft picks. The Blazers are open to exploring multi-team trades to make a potential Lillard trade possible. The outcome of these discussions remains to be seen as the start of training camp approaches.
Lillard, who is 33 years old, has specifically requested a trade from the Miami Heat in order to avoid being part of a rebuild and to compete for a championship immediately. However, the trade offer put forth by Miami did not meet Portland’s requirements. The offer included two or three first-round picks and a player package centered around Tyler Herro, the former Sixth Man of the Year. Portland is seeking additional draft picks and has limited interest in Herro. Consequently, Portland is exploring the possibility of a multi-team trade that would involve Herro but result in more draft picks being acquired by the Blazers. Both Portland and Miami have incentives to reach a resolution, as the Heat would greatly benefit from adding Lillard to their roster alongside Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, making them top contenders in the Eastern Conference. Portland, on the other hand, aims to move forward from the current situation and does not want Lillard’s presence to become a distracting factor during training camp. However, Portland’s leverage in negotiations is limited, primarily relying on the threat of bringing Lillard to camp as a negotiation tactic. Few teams are actively pursuing the 33-year-old guard given the remaining duration and financial commitment of his contract, apart from Miami at a significantly lower price than what Portland is seeking. The seal on the trade is expected to be finalized either prior to or during training camp, based on discussions with league officials. While there is no animosity between Lillard and the Trail Blazers organization, the pressure is escalating as camp approaches.