How the Trail Blazers treat Lillard on his way out is something that players across the league are paying attention to, according to NBA insider Chris Haynes.
“Players are watching how the Blazers are going to treat Dame…
I think the Blazers should look to see how they can get him to Miami, but also figure out how they can get the best package…Trying to go out of your way to appease both sides”
— 𝙃𝙀𝘼𝙏 𝙉𝘼𝙏𝙄𝙊𝙉 (@HeatvsHaters) July 3, 2023
If the Blazers don’t send Lillard to his preferred destination, perhaps that will hurt their chances of landing star players in the future. Portland currently isn’t a major destination for free agents, so the way it treats its franchise cornerstone could really affect its future.
The seven-time All-Star has spent his entire 11-year career with the Trail Blazers since being drafted by them with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft.
He has developed into a top-tier scorer who is a seven-time All-NBA selection. During the 2022-23 campaign, arguably his most efficient season yet, Lillard recorded 32.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game while knocking down 46.3 percent of his shots from the field and 37.1 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.
Despite Portland’s apparent willingness to listen to offers from other teams, the Weber State University product reportedly remains set on joining Miami.
“The seven-time All-Star guard remains unwavering that he wants to play only for the Heat, a source with direct knowledge reiterated to the Miami Herald on Sunday night,” wrote Heat insiders Anthony Chiang and Barry Jackson about Lillard.
“So if the Blazers attempt to trade Lillard to a team other than Miami, a potential standoff looms.
“Though Lillard does not have a no-trade clause, his mind-set — at this time — is to remain resolute and adamant that Miami is the only place he wants to play.”
Lillard only wanting to play for the Heat could scare off other teams from trading for him. Haynes recently reported that teams like the Boston Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers, New Orleans Pelicans and Minnesota Timberwolves have all called the Trail Blazers about Lillard.
However, it seems like the 32-year-old has no interest in playing for any of those squads. This saga feels like one that could drag on for much of the offseason, but in the NBA, deals do often get done at a moment’s notice.
The basketball world will certainly be paying close attention to every little thing that takes place regarding Lillard, as it’s likely to be the biggest story of the summer.