How things are shaping up and what factors are in play :”In order to get the best deal for their premier player, seven-time All-premier Damian Lillard, the Portland Trail Blazers are ramping up negotiations with other teams as the NBA training camps draw near, according to league insiders.”
The opening of training camp and media day on October 2nd has loomed as a crucial deadline for the Blazers to trade Lillard and usher in a new era for the team since Lillard’s initial trade request in July did not result in a transaction to his favorite destination, which included Miami. According to reports, this issue is even more urgent than the continuing saga involving James Harden in Philadelphia, who is still hoping to be traded to the LA Clippers.
Young lottery picks Scoot Henderson and Shaedon Sharpe, coupled with 24-year-old scorer Anfernee Simons, are key assets for the Blazers. Portland’s ambition to launch in a new era with their current core contrasts with Lillard’s reintroduction, who is 33 and has more than $200 million left on his contract. Philadelphia, on the other hand, is still hoping that Harden will show up for camp, which may boost his trade value because he plays for a club that is in contention for a championship.
Several prospective destinations have come up in the trade negotiations around Lillard, with Toronto and Chicago being the most frequently suggested by league insiders. Although it is anticipated that Portland will speak with Miami before agreeing to a contract with another bidder, recent discussions about Lillard have not been primarily focused on the Heat.
One intriguing twist in these talks is Portland’s thinking of trading for Lillard with many teams in order to get Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton, sources have revealed. In order to fulfill Ayton’s demand for a bigger offensive role, this idea involves sending Phoenix center Jusuf Nurkic back to Portland. This will give the Trail Blazers a defensive anchor and a pick-and-roll partner for their perimeter playmakers. The Suns, who have previously claimed that Ayton was not available for trade, are faced with a difficult balancing act.
The Suns may decide to split Ayton’s deal into two valuable rotation players in the event that a trade for Nurkic fails to materialize. However, given the magnitude of Ayton’s contract, this choice presents its own set of difficulties.
Given the breadth of resources Toronto can provide, along with Phoenix and Miami, appears to be a feasible option for Lillard’s next stop. Toronto has made it obvious that Scottie Barnes is their franchise’s focal point, so a deal for Lillard is probably not going to involve him. Instead, Gradey Dick or additional draft compensation could be included in the exchange.
Due to the All-Star forward’s contract status and the Blazers’ recent commitment to Jerami Grant, it is unlikely that Pascal Siakam would be included in a deal for Portland. Anunoby, on the other hand, carries his own financial concerns with him, including a player option for the 2024–25 season and a desire for more opportunities to handle the ball.
Chicago has participated in the trade talks as well, but the Blazers don’t appear willing to acquire Zach LaVine, an All-Star guard. They are instead interested in younger assets like Simons.
Complex multi-team scenarios are present in the Lillard negotiations as they develop, and how the Blazers front management handles them will determine the final result. The NBA will undoubtedly see considerable player movement in the near future, with Lillard’s trade being one of the most anticipated deals in recent memory, as these negotiations continue.