The Trail Blazers and Heat remain at a standoff in the Damian Lillard trade talks, with the two sides unable to bridge the gap between what Portland expects to receive for its star guard and what Miami is willing to give up, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said on the latest Hoop Collective podcast (YouTube link).
“What the Blazers want – if they’re dealing with one team, if it is Miami or nothing – they want what the Nets got from the Suns (for Kevin Durant),” Windhorst said.
The Nets acquired four unprotected first-round picks along with Mikal Bridges, Cameron Johnson, a first-round pick swap, and two second-rounders in the four-team deal that sent Durant and T.J. Warren to Phoenix at the February deadline. When ESPN’s Tim Bontemps interrupted to say that the Blazers simply aren’t going to get a Durant-esque package for Lillard, Windhorst continued:
“I understand that. And a year ago right now, the Nets weren’t getting it from the Suns, whatever initial talks that they had. But the concept is that (the Blazers) want the Heat to literally scrounge into every nook and cranny and produce everything they possibly can. And the Heat don’t feel the need to do that, and they haven’t since June.”
As Windhorst observes, the Suns only became more willing to make the sort of massive offer the Nets wanted for Durant following the franchise’s change in ownership. Obviously, the Blazers can’t count on their talks with Miami getting that sort of push.
Here’s more on Lillard:
- Appearing on Back on Figg (YouTube link), Lillard spoke about his desire to win a championship and hinted that Portland’s lack of urgency to contend for a title is the reason why he wants to be traded. “(It’s) like me and you saying, ‘No matter what happens, we ain’t telling on each other,’” Lillard said (hat tip to RealGM). “… And then a day comes where I’m still playing by those same rules. Like, ‘Me and you want the same thing, we’re gonna go out together.’ And then that ain’t the code you want to live by no more. So, when that happens, me and you can’t be how we was. … If me and you don’t want the same thing no more and you show me that you don’t want the same thing, we don’t want the same thing.”
- Asked during an appearance on the It Is What It Is podcast (Twitter video link) whether he wants to be a Trail Blazer this season, Lillard replied, “In a perfect world, I could spend my entire career in Portland.” Again, it sounds like the implication there is that he’d be comfortable remaining with the Blazers if they were more aggressively building a win-now roster.
- During an NBA Today segment on Lillard (YouTube link), ESPN’s Marc Spears suggested there might be a mystery Eastern Conference team interested in making a play for the star guard. “Would Boston do it?” Spears said when discussing possible suitors besides Miami. “I’m kind of hearing rumors about another Eastern Conference team that I’m not going to throw out there just yet.”
- Chris Mannix of SI.com said on The Crossover NBA podcast that he believes the Thunder could enter the Lillard sweepstakes if Dame is still a Blazer in January and Oklahoma City is overachieving. “If they’re playing really well, don’t be surprised if they go out and make a run at Lillard,” Mannix said, per Ross Lovelace of SI.com.
- Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel (subscriber link) questions the Trail Blazers’ apparent aversion to acquiring Heat guard Tyler Herro in a trade for Lillard, arguing that Herro has accomplished more in his career than Anfernee Simons and might immediately become the best player on Portland’s roster.
- In a separate article for the Sun Sentinel, Winderman notes if the Heat are able to land Lillard, they’d have three players – Lillard, Jimmy Butler, and Bam Adebayo – impacted by the NBA’s new player participation policy. Chicago, Cleveland, Golden State, Milwaukee, Minnesota, and Phoenix are currently the only teams with more than two players affected.