As the Damian Lillard trade saga drags on, summer will soon turn to fall and fall will mean that NBA training camps are just weeks away. The Heat and Trail Blazers have lollygagged their way through their present starting contest, but time is getting short.
The good news for Portland is that, should the status quo remain intact, Lillard at least plans to show up and put on a uniform for the Blazers. That’s according to reporter Shams Charania, who said on “The Rally” podcast that Lillard would at least concede to a Portland return if a Miami deal can’t be worked out.
“Expect Portland and Miami to re-engage [on trade talks] before the start of training camps in the next two-and-a-half weeks. And really, at this point, I’m told that the only two training camps that Damian Lillard would report to in theory, are Portland and Miami,” Charania said.
Damian Lillard Saga Still Complicated
But the full picture remains complicated. In a way, Lillard reporting to Portland, even as he keeps alive his trade request, puts some pressure on the Heat in that it gives the Trail Blazers an escape hatch, a way to save some face by keeping Lillard in the fold without having to acquiesce to whatever deal Miami puts on the table.
It does not help Portland, though, because the notion that Lillard will not report to camp unless that camp is in Portland or Miami means that no other team will get involved in Lillard trade chat. If they did, Lillard would just keep pressing to be traded.
“If a team like Toronto, for instance, were to trade for Damian Lillard, I do not believe Lillard would even report, I believe that standing trade request would still be there if he were traded to Toronto or anyone else, really, that wants to take a chance on this situation,” Charania said. “Teams around the league, ever since this trade request early in July, they’ve understood a guy like Damian Lillard at the age of 33, with $216 million left on his deal in the next four seasons, him joining their program and wanting a trade immediately is incredibly unideal.”
NBA Has Been ‘on Pause’
It does seem almost silly that the Blazers and Heat have allowed this situation to last this long. Miami can afford to be patient, because Lillard has no other credible suitors. The Blazers can afford to be patient, too, because the team is rebuilding and is expected to return to the NBA draft lottery. They can accomplish that feat with or without Lillard on board.
The situation is at a loggerheads. But, eventually, the two sides will realize some deal needs to get done here.
“You look at this situation, the one thing you keep coming back to is, Miami and Portland, are they able to get a deal done or not? The league has really been on pause since July with a lot of the major moves, everyone’s been waiting on this and we’re still waiting to see what happens with Portland and Miami,” Charania said.