Talks between the Miami Heat and Portland Trail Blazers about a potential Damian Lillard trade have been stalled for months, but recent reports indicate that Portland could seek to trade Lillard to a team other than the Heat.
According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the Blazers have ramped up their effort to find a trade for Lillard.
"“Portland is trying to put together a number of multi-team scenarios to see they can get the assets back in a trade for Damian Lillard,” Wojnarowski said. “They have been aggressive here in the last weeks… only because the league started up again. Labor Day comes, teams are engaging again. I do think they’re engaging. The question is do they find a deal in the next couple of weeks or do they have to bring Lillard back to camp?”"
This, after Wojnarowski reported that the Heat aren’t willing to improve their offer and have essentially challenged Portland to find a better offer.
According to Wojnarowski, the Heat “want Damian Lillard. They just want him for as little as they’re going to have to give up. They’re essentially daring Portland to go out into the marketplace, which Portland is doing, and see if they can find better.”
Meanwhile, Lillard continues to decline to speak about the Blazers publicly. In some recent podcast appearances, Lillard has turned the conversation toward his own career goals.
Asked on the “Back on Figg” podcast about his trade request, Lillard said it came down to him wanting to win a championship and the Blazers wanting to get younger.
“You don’t want the same thing no more and you show me that you don’t want the same thing,” he said. “We don’t want the same thing.”
With teams beginning to report back and prepare for the start of training camp in early October, it could motivate the teams to engage in Lillard trade talks. Certainly, this could end up being a multi-team deal, but it remains unclear what other teams are seriously considering trading for Lillard, who is 33 and due more than $200 million over the next four years, and has made his preference to play in Miami clear.