The Trail Blazers have remained reluctant to engage in serious talks with the Heat about Damian Lillard, a source tells Barry Jackson and Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN said on Tuesday that the two sides haven’t really had trade conversations since July, since Portland’s best hope of getting Miami to increase its offer is to find another team willing to make a serious play for the point guard.
“(The Heat) want Damian Lillard,” Wojnarowski said, per Jackson and Chiang. “They just want him for as little as they’re going to have to give up. They’re essentially daring Portland to go out into the marketplace, which Portland is doing, and see if they can find better. … The goal isn’t to just get Damian Lillard. It’s to get Damian Lillard for as little as you have to give up to be able to still have the ability to put a team around Jimmy Butler, Lillard, Bam Adebayo in Miami.”
While the Heat are reluctant to bid against themselves, other interested teams are wary of giving up significant assets for a player whose preference is to end up in Miami.
“I think there are teams that will trade for him,” Wojnarowski said. “But it’s a little bit of a negotiating crutch where you tell Portland, ‘Hey, I’m not offering you everything we might because we’re taking risk here.’ He has said he only wants to play in Miami. That kind of dulls the offers a little bit.”
Here’s more on Lillard:
- Discussing the Lillard situation in the latest episode of The Lowe Post podcast (YouTube link), ESPN’s Zach Lowe said that some executives around the league have speculated that the Pelicans, who have a handful of extra draft assets, could be a suitor for the Blazers star. However, his colleague Andrew Lopez is skeptical. “It wouldn’t surprise me if they were involved, but as a third or fourth team,” Lopez said of New Orleans. “That would be, I think, the extent that they would try to get involved in a Damian Lillard trade.”
- Later in the same podcast, Lowe said that non-Heat teams with interest in Lillard are concerned that they could be used as a “way station” between Portland and Miami if they acquire Dame and things don’t get off to a good start. In other words, that club could soon find itself in the same situation as the Blazers are now, with Lillard wanting out and once again pushing for a trade to the Heat.
- On Tuesday’s episode of the Locked On NBA podcast, Matt Moore of Action Network said that a handful of Eastern Conference teams, including the Raptors, have “kicked the tires” on the possibility of acquiring Lillard (Twitter video link). As Moore explains, that doesn’t necessarily mean those clubs have been negotiating with the Blazers — it has been more about touching base with Lillard’s camp to gauge just how opposed he is to landing somewhere besides Miami.