In an effort to steer Damian Lillard to the Heat, agent Aaron Goodwin has been contacting other teams and warning them not to pursue a trade with the Trail Blazers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowksi. Several executives around the league told Wojnarowski that Goodwin is claiming Lillard won’t be happy if he gets dealt anywhere but Miami.
General managers have insisted to Woj that the tactic is fairly common and won’t impact their interest in a potential Lillard deal. He remains under contract, and the opinion throughout the league is that he’ll play equally well no matter where he winds up.
The two-year, maximum-salary extension that Lillard received last summer makes it more difficult for Portland to find value in return for its star guard, Wojnarowski adds. Although Lillard is under contract through 2026/27, his salary for that season will be more than $63MM, which a lot of teams don’t want to take onto their cap.
Some progress toward a Lillard deal could be made this week as executives gather for the Las Vegas Summer League, but Wojnarowski doesn’t expect a quick resolution. He suggests it may take most of the summer for Portland to find an acceptable offer and that Miami’s best chance could be for the process to drag on so long that other teams in the market for Lillard drop out of the bidding.
There’s more from the Northwest Division:
- Rayan Rupert‘s new contract with the Trail Blazers is fully guaranteed for two seasons and carries a team option for the third year, tweets Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. The New Zealand Breakers star was selected with the 43rd overall pick.
- The Spurs or Cavaliers might have offered him more, but Naz Reid was happy to bypass free agency in favor of a three-year extension with the Timberwolves, per Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. Reid was hoping to remain in Minnesota after spending his first four NBA seasons there. “I started my career here. I wanted to continue my career here,” Reid said. “I’ve gotten better each and every year here as well, so it only made sense. I didn’t want to go anywhere else and continue my journey, as far as I’ve gone. I’ve felt all my teammates and coaches and everybody has been great to me.”
- Collin Gillespie is eager to show the Nuggets what he can do after suffering a lower left leg fracture last summer, writes Ryan McFadden of The Denver Post. Gillespie received a two-way contract and remained on Denver’s roster even though he wasn’t able to play. “When I got injured, I was like ‘Man, this is not good,’” he said. “But it just tells you about the organization (and) what kind of people they are. It’s a special organization. I was extremely grateful that they stuck with me.”