Bad news for long-shot teams hoping to work their way into the Damian Lillard sweepstakes.
There is none. Still.
Per The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Lillard will only report to the training camp of one of two teams this fall — the Portland Trail Blazers and the Miami Heat. Any other interested parties will result in a Lillard no-show in the event of a trade.
“At this point, I’m told the only two training camps that Damian Lillard would report to in theory — Portland and Miami,” Charania told The Rally on Monday. … “I believe that standing trade request would still be there if he were to be traded to a team like Toronto or anyone else that really wants to take a chance at the situation.”
That’s bad news for the Toronto Raptors. That’s bad news for the Boston Celtics. That’s bad news for any team looking to swing a deal while hoping to convince Lillard of sticking around despite his open desire to play this season for the Miami Heat. But it’s not surprising news.
Lillard’s status has dominated offseason headlines since he requested to be traded out of Portland after 11 seasons and seven All-Star appearances with the team that drafted him — even as there’s been no action on that request.
The NBA issued a warning in July to Lillard, his agent Aaron Goodwin and the NBPA against communicating that Lillard would only play for the Heat next season. In a memo, the league stated that continuing to do so would result in discipline. It appears that the campaign remains in full effect with the regular season less than two months from tipping off.
The state of talks amid a summer of stagnation is not clear. Trail Blazers general manager Joe Cronin is reportedly open all suitors, while any discussions with the Heat thus far obviously have not produced a deal. Other teams are obviously interested in the sharp-shooting All-Star despite the reported warnings, but it’s unclear if any have engaged in any significant discussions with the Trail Blazers.
For now, Lillard’s status for the 2023-24 season remains one basketball’s biggest unsolved mysteries.