Northwest Notes: Lillard, Gobert, Alexander-Walker, Clarkson

The market for Damian Lillard would have been limited even without his insistence on playing for the Heat, Sean Deveney writes in a Forbes article. Two months have passed since Lillard asked the Trail Blazers for a trade, and an unidentified executive tells Deveney that not many teams would have pursued Lillard regardless of his preference.

“I don’t think anyone likes the idea of Dame coming in and forcing the Blazers’ hand like this, forcing them to take a deal from a team that does not have the assets,” the executive said. “That’s a bad precedent, and it is one we are seeing too much of. But if Dame had not said, ‘Miami or nothing,’ where else was Portland really going to go for a deal? Maybe Brooklyn? But where else? There’s not that many teams that are going to give you a bunch of players and picks for a 33-year-old who can’t stay healthy and has a giant contract sitting there.”

Lillard will make about $215MM over the next four years, including a two-year extension he signed last summer that will pay him $58.5MM when he’s 35 and $63MM when he’s 36. There are also injury concerns after Lillard was shut down early the past two seasons.

The Heat are one of the few teams willing to absorb that deal, Deveney adds, and Lillard is a good fit with their other personnel, so Miami would have been a natural destination even if Lillard hadn’t mentioned the city.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • After a disappointing World Cup run with France, Rudy Gobert is looking forward to starting his second season with the Timberwolves, per Antonis Stroggylakis of Eurohoops. Gobert said there were a lot of adjustments to deal with last season, but he saw positive developments, even though it ended with a first-round playoff ouster. “We didn’t go as far as we wanted to go but we were resilient,” he said. “We had a lot of injuries and a lot of things that didn’t go our way. But we kept fighting. I liked the mindset that we had. Especially in the playoffs.”
  • Nickeil Alexander-Walker is looking forward to having stability when he reports to Timberwolves camp, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Alexander-Walker has been traded three times in his four-year career, but he signed a two-year, $9MM contract with Minnesota this summer.
  • After scoring 34 points as the Philippines closed out World Cup play with a win over China, Jazz guard Jordan Clarkson told fans in Manila that he plans to continue playing for the national team, BasketNews relays. “I do not think this was my last performance with this jersey,” Clarkson said. “I have more time, and I still can hoop.”
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