It has been over two months since Trail Blazers star guard Damian Lillard requested a trade from Portland to Miami. Now, Danny Marang of 1080 The Fan in Portland reports that there are ongoing discussions for a deal involving Lillard to be completed before training camp on October 2 (Twitter link).
Earlier on Thursday, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst appeared on the Behind the Play podcast (YouTube link) and said the Blazers are trying to get a deal done, adding that in the last week or so, there’s been more movement from Portland.
“I don’t know what their offers are but I think they are making an attempt to resolve this before training camp,” Windhorst said. “They may get there or they may not. … I don’t see [Lillard] as someone who doesn’t report or doesn’t play. I would be very surprised if you didn’t see [Lillard] there and playing at his all.”
Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson corroborated Marang’s original tweet, writing that a “non-Heat person” spoke with Portland’s front office tonight and backed up Marang’s reporting (Twitter link). Jackson adds that this is the first time he’s gotten the sense that the Blazers would like to make a deal before camp “if they get what they’re looking for.”
This echoes earlier reporting on Thursday involving the potential inclusion of the Suns and/or Deandre Ayton in a deal. John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 FM said he expected the Lillard trade to happen “very soon,” even as soon as the next 24 hours. Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports wrote that trade talks among interested teams are heating up. Bourguet added that conversations between the Heat, Trail Blazers and Suns, the latter of which has been described as a potential facilitator in such a trade, have increased over the last day or so.
While the Blazers could be looking to get a trade done, it isn’t clear which team they’re having the most talks with. Bourguet writes that Chicago, Toronto and Philadelphia could all be potential partners in a trade and that each is active on the market right now.
Lillard demanded a trade specifically to Miami, but for months it’s been reported that the Trail Blazers haven’t been interested in engaging with the Heat. While that certainly could have changed, it’s also possible that another team is nearing the finish line to acquire the seven-time All-Star.
According to Bourguet, the Heat are “desperate” to get a deal done for Lillard now. Miami has been contacting teams around the league to help facilitate a multi-team trade, reports Bourguet.
It’s important to note that even with all the reports suggesting the Trail Blazers are trying to get the trade done before camp, it’s still possible it doesn’t happen at that time, as Windhorst noted in his podcast appearance. If the Blazers still don’t like the offers available to them, they could hold Lillard into the season, as Jackson and Windhorst reported.