Woj drops truth bomb on latest surrounding Damian Lillard

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Trade talks involving Miami Heat target Damian Lillard appear to be picking up again, with ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski saying he thinks the Portland Trail Blazers have “been in communication with a lot of teams” about facilitating a deal with the start of training camps approaching.

“My sense is that the Blazers have done a lot more talking with teams in the last say 10 to 14 days than they did probably in at least a month plus prior,” Wojnarowski said. “And a big part of that is the league is back to work now after Labor Day, and training camp is starting to approach. And that’s the next real deadline in this process.

“But I think Portland, what they’ve been trying to do, is see how they could put together multiteam deals that would get them the assets that they would want: draft picks, young players.

“There might be a team that their best asset is a veteran player that doesn’t interest the Blazers, but there’s a third team who might want to take on that veteran and then send whether it’s a young player or picks in part to Portland.

“So I think they’ve been in communication with a lot of teams trying to find a structure of a deal that can get them a Damian Lillard trade. We’ll see now how much traction they can get between now and the start of camp.”

Wojnarowski did not mention the Heat specifically, but they have long been seen as the most likely landing spot for Lillard after his agent said Miami is his client’s preferred destination. The 33-year-old requested a trade out of Portland more than two months ago, but after heightened rumors of a deal at that time, the situation has cooled considerably since then.

A multiteam deal has been thought of as the best way for the Heat to acquire Lillard from the Blazers, who do not seem to have much interest in any of the players Miami reportedly is offering, specifically Tyler Herro. This recent report did not mention how the Heat might be involved in the Trail Blazers’ discussions with other teams.

The latest report may be somewhat contrary to another recent report that stated that teams other than Miami are reluctant to trade for Lillard, so this could be Portland’s way of creating a palatable deal for itself. With most NBA training camps set to open at the beginning of next month, there are conflicting reports on if Lillard is willing to report to someplace other than Portland or Miami.

Miami’s offseason has been taking place with the specter of a Lillard trade looming large over the franchise. The Heat reportedly lost out on signing several players while waiting to complete a trade and have made few noteworthy acquisitions after losing Gabe Vincent, Max Strus and Victor Oladipo this summer.

It was thought that the Heat were interested in Christian Wood, but after he signed with the Los Angeles Lakers, it was reported that an NBA source didn’t believe he suited the desires of Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra.

The uncertainty has caused Heat forward Kevin Love to express some concern about how this all will affect the roster this season.

Time is running out before the 2023-24 NBA season starts, and that approaching event seems to have increased the Trail Blazers’ sense of urgency to work something out. It remains to be seen if the Heat will have a role in that.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. His introduction to the business included the legendary Heat-Knicks rivalry from the 1990s.