Damian Lillard requested a trade from the Portland Trail Blazers on July 1, just one day after the opening of NBA free agency and less than two weeks after the 2023 NBA Draft. Lillard immediately made it known he wanted to be dealt to the Miami Heat. Nearly three months later, the superstar guard remains in Portland and appears no closer to getting his wish.
With training camps around the league opening at the start of October, the Blazers are reportedly renewing Lillard trade talks with the hope of completing a deal before camp. While many have believed a trade sending Dame to Miami is inevitable, recent reports suggest the Blazers are willing to talk to any team other than Miami. As trade talks have picked up again, multiple league insiders are reporting that Miami and Portland still aren’t talking.
Here’s what Adrian Wojnarowski recently said on ESPN:
“Those talks have intensified this week with Lillard. But still, there’s no trade imminent. So far the one element that has not been a part of these talks are the Miami Heat. But we know in trade talks, in conversations, that can change in one moment with one call.” – @wojespn pic.twitter.com/nsA7HWojbu
— Dru (@dru_star) September 22, 2023
“So far the one element that has not been a part of these talks are the Miami Heat,” Wojnarowski said.
Chris Haynes of TNT and Bleacher Report is tied in with Lillard closer than any reporter in the league. Haynes appeared on a podcast this week and said Portland is refusing to talk to Miami. Haynes said the last time the two sides spoke was during Summer League.
As Woj notes in the clip above, things can change quickly in trade talks. Even if Miami and Portland haven’t spoke about a potential Lillard deal recently, both sides know what the other has to offer. Miami’s best offer would include first round picks in 2026 (which requires the team amending the protections on a future pick owed to the Thunder), 2028, and 2030. It also includes rookie Jaime Jaquez, and matching salary in the form of some combination of Tyler Herro, Kyle Lowry, and Duncan Robinson.
Portland is reportedly engaging on multi-team deals, per Jake Fischer of Yahoo! Sports. The Toronto Raptors and Chicago Bulls have been mentioned as possible Lillard suitors. It remains to be seen if those teams involvement in the deal would be to land Lillard, or to help extra assets change hands to facilitate Dame’s arrival in Miami.
We came up with some fake trades offers for Lillard from teams other than Miami earlier this summer. If the Blazers can leverage the Heat for a third first round pick, and get all of them unprotected, it still feels like Miami can offer the best overall package of any suitor. The Blazers simply don’t seem interested in doing business with them at this point.
Lillard, 33 years old, has four years, $216 million remaining on his contract. Dame wants Miami, and Miami wants Dame, but it takes two sides, at minimum, to make a deal. For now, it seems like Portland wants to trade Lillard anywhere but his preferred destination.