Damian Lillard’s agent offers crystal clear message about client’s intentions

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Aaron Goodwin, the agent for Damian Lillard, is making an effort to clarify that the Portland Trail Blazers guard’s top destination in a trade is the Miami Heat.

On Thursday, a report surfaced that Goodwin has been warning other teams not to make much of an effort to acquire Lillard. Despite that push, Trail Blazers general manager Joe Cronin has apparently indicated that other teams are welcome to make offers.

Given Lillard’s trade request last weekend and the recent drafting of guard Scoot Henderson by the Trail Blazers, a trade to another team is seemingly inevitable.

Lilliard has made it clear that he’d like to become part of the Heat culture that’s had a solid run of success over much of the past four seasons. During that span, the team has reached the Finals twice, including this past season, and the Eastern Conference Finals three times.

In contrast, the Trail Blazers are largely in rebuilding mode. For the 2022-23 season, the team finished out of the playoffs with a 33-49 record, one year after a 27-55 campaign.

Those struggles don’t bode well for the immediate future. Lillard, who turns 33 on July 15, has never been part of an NBA championship team and presumably wouldn’t be for the next few years if he were to stay with the Blazers.

That dismal prospect makes it imperative for Lillard to play with a solid contender, something the Heat should be able to provide. Even before Lillard’s trade demand, his name had been mentioned in rumors involving the Heat.

One potential problem in the Heat’s efforts to acquire Lillard was noted in a report about the Trail Blazers’ apparent asking price. The “deepest return of assets” the Trail Blazers are reportedly seeking might be something another team might be more inclined to provide.

Regardless of what it might take to acquire Lillard, the Heat could lose a number of key players if and when the final deal is done. One prominent name that’s been continually mentioned is Tyler Herro, whose 2022-23 season came to an abrupt end after he suffered an injury in the playoff opener.

For now, the Heat are in a position where they have to engage with Cronin in trying to come as close as possible to satisfying his steep demands. That may not be easy, but it’s clear that Lillard has no intention of suiting up again for the Trail Blazers anytime soon.

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Brad Sullivan is a freelance writer for HeatNation.com, having been an avid fan of NBA basketball for more than four decades. During that time, he's watched the Heat evolve from gestation period to expansion team all the way to three-time NBA champions. He'll follow their quest toward again reaching those lofty heights, and do so by offering some perspective along the way.