The Portland Trail Blazers have been steadfast in their desire for a substantial return for seven-time All-Star Damian Lillard, and reports suggest they are willing to wait things out.
Finding equal value for a player of Lillard’s caliber is difficult on the trade market. Most teams that are looking to contend won’t part with the assets the Blazers are looking for, and the teams that do aren’t interested in adding a 33-year-old who is due $216 million over the next four years.
All roads appear to be leading to the Miami Heat, the team reported to be the most motivated to acquire him and Lillard’s preferred trade destination, per Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes. The star point guard has also done everything in his power to ensure they are the team he’s traded to.
However, the Blazers and Heat have reached a stalemate in their trade conversations.
“There has not been conversation really this summer, perhaps since July, with Portland and Miami.” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said, via Anthony Chiang and Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald.
Despite the lack of traction on trade talks with the Heat and their dissatisfaction with other potential offers, the Blazers are still in a great position to take their time to negotiate a deal and should be considered the ones in the driver’s seat of any potential negotiation.
The Blazers aren’t looking to contend this season, and their sole focus should be developing their young talent in Scoot Henderson, Anfernee Simons and Shaedon Sharpe. Should trade talks continue into the upcoming season causing Lillard to sit out games, the team is no worse for the wear.
As we approach the trade deadline in February, teams will likely be more desperate, and the Blazers are well aware of that. A team like the Heat, with an aging roster that is in win-now mode, might be more inclined to add more assets to the trade if they truly believe Lillard is the player who will put them over the top in the championship hunt.