Lillard, who asked for a trade on Saturday after weeks of speculation, reportedly hopes to end up in Miami, where he could be part of a title contender. However, the Heat may not be able to offer the best trade package, and Portland GM Joe Cronin intends to focus on the team’s needs rather than Lillard’s preference while negotiating a deal.
“For Portland, they’re going to go out into the marketplace and try to find the best deal they can,” Wojnarowski said, “a combination of young players, draft picks, salary cap relief, all the things you want when a star of Damian Lillard’s magnitude asks to be traded.”
Woj adds that he doesn’t expect a Lillard deal to be completed quickly and that Miami doesn’t have any advantage because Lillard wants to go there. The Blazers haven’t told Lillard whether they intend to comply with his request to join the Heat, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.
There are more trade rumors to pass along:
- The Sixers‘ asking price for James Harden has been “really high,” Wojnarowski said in the same segment, noting that president of basketball operations Daryl Morey tends to seek a lot in return when a star player wants to be traded. Harden picked up his $35.6MM player option this week, and reports have indicated that he wants to be dealt to the Clippers. Wojnarowski adds that it’s “not an easy trade to make” because Philadelphia has to get value in return to pair with MVP Joel Embiid and keep the team in title contention. Woj speculates that trade talks could extend beyond Summer League action.
- The Celtics aren’t trying to trade Sixth Man of the Year Malcolm Brogdon, a source tells Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. Brogdon was involved in an early version of the Kristaps Porzingis deal, but that fell through when the Clippers pulled out due to medical concerns about Brogdon. Himmelsbach adds that Brogdon is expected to be ready for the start of next season, even though he’s considering surgery for a right elbow injury he suffered in the Eastern Conference Finals.
- The Knicks will continue to explore trades involving Evan Fournier, per Ian Begley of SNY.tv, but they don’t need to open any more cap flexibility to add Donte DiVincenzo after agreeing to send Obi Toppin to the Pacers. New York doesn’t seem to be actively pursuing either Lillard or Harden, according to Begley.
- David Weiner of ClutchFans.net (Twitter link) suspects the Rockets will fold multiple reported trade agreements into their sign-and-trade deal for Dillon Brooks in order to maximize their cap room. After acquiring Patty Mills and using up their remaining cap space, Weiner posits, Houston will package Josh Christopher (to the Grizzlies), Usman Garuba and TyTy Washington (to the Hawks), and Mills (destination TBD), whose combined salaries will be enough to match Brooks’ expected first-year salary (approximately $21.6MM) without requiring room.