Damian Lillard requested a trade from the Portland Trail Blazers over two months ago, but has not yet gotten his wish. It’s possible that could change soon, however, as NBA training camps are now just a few weeks away, and the Blazers are increasing the frequency of their trade talks, according to Adrian Wojnarowski.
ESPN’s veteran NBA reporter was on TV on Friday to give an update on the situation, and while there’s been no major shift in the status quo, he did note that the Blazers have been far more active recently than they were for much of the summer. Here’s Wojnarowski:
“My sense is that the Blazers have done a lot more talking with teams in the last say 10 to 14 days than they did probably in at least a month plus prior. And a big part of that is the league is back to work now after Labor Day, and training camp is starting to approach. And that’s the next real deadline in this process.
“But I think Portland, what they’ve been trying to do, is see how they could put together multi-team deals that would get them the assets that they would want: draft picks, young players. There might be a team that their best asset is a veteran player that doesn’t interest the Blazers, but there’s a third team who might want to take on that veteran and then send whether it’s a young player or picks in part to Portland.
“So I think they’ve been in communication with a lot of teams trying to find a structure of a deal that can get them a Damian Lillard trade. We’ll see now how much traction they can get between now and the start of camp.”
Training camps for a majority of teams, including the Blazers, will open around the league on Oct. 3. (Those teams participating in preseason games overseas can begin camp early on Sept. 27.) If a deal is not done by then, it will create an awkward situation where Lillard either has to report to camp with a team he has openly stated he doesn’t want to play for anymore, or hold out and risk losing money and damaging his reputation.
While the Blazers obviously want to get the best deal possible, which is why they haven’t pulled the trigger on sending Lillard to his preferred destination of the Miami Heat, they will also want to avoid extra drama. Unless Liillard is going to be with the team for a significant portion of the season, having him in camp will be a big distraction for a young team that is starting a rebuild.
There’s no guarantee a deal gets done before the start of camp, but it’s clear the Blazers now have a sense of urgency that wasn’t there for much of the summer.