The Portland Trail Blazers want to move Damian Lillard before training camp opens on October 2nd. As they canvas the league for potential suitors and take calls from teams with a real interest in adding the eight-time All-Star, though, general manager Joe Cronin and the Blazers' front office are apparently “refusing” to engage the Miami Heat.
“Let's remember this: Portland is refusing to talk to Miami,” Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report said Friday on D-Lo and KC. “Miami understands that they don't have the assets, but they wanna know, ‘Hey, Portland, we'll involve a third or a fourth team. But communicate with us and let us know what you are looking for.' It hasn't got to that stage.”
“𝐏𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐥𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐢𝐬 𝐫𝐞𝐟𝐮𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐚𝐥𝐤 𝐭𝐨 𝐌𝐢𝐚𝐦𝐢. 𝐌𝐢𝐚𝐦𝐢 𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐬 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐲 𝐝𝐨𝐧’𝐭 𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐚𝐬𝐬𝐞𝐭𝐬. But they wanna know ‘Hey Portland, we’ll involve a 3rd or 4th team. But communicate with us & let us know what you… pic.twitter.com/YqitlotbVu
— BASKETBALL ON 𝕏 (@BasketballOnX) September 22, 2023
Rumors regarding Lillard's trade status have been running rampant in the last 48 hours, with some reports suggesting the Heat may not be pressing to trade with Portland after all. There's always a motive at play when team decision-makers and agents reveal intel to league insiders on background, though. The Heat could still be clear frontrunners to land Lillard.
But no reporter has a more direct line to the situation than Haynes, a personal friend of Lillard's who's been his closest media confidante for years. It's always prudent to take all anonymously sourced reporting with a grain of salt. Though Haynes certainly isn't immune from muddying public waters intentionally or otherwise, his reporting on Lillard specifically certainly seems more trustworthy than others'.
It's not like the notion that Portland has shut down talks with Miami is especially surprising, either. The Blazers have been blanching at the Heat's proposals for month, and a three or four-team trade involving Lillard always appeared likely. Whether Portland ultimately takes calls from Pat Riley and company or Cronin picks up the phone to ring the Heat himself, though, depends mostly on just how serious other teams are about acquiring Lillard against his wishes.
Training camp is barely more than a week away. If Damian Lillard isn't in South Beach come early October, it sure looks like he won't be in Rip City, either.