Two months ago, the Miami Herald shed light on the ongoing drama involving Damian Lillard, the renowned guard from the Portland Trail Blazers. In contrast to Lillard’s public silence on a trade request, his agent Aaron Goodwin openly expressed Lillard’s preference for a move only to the Miami Heat.
The NBA is not ignoring this. A source revealed that the League, concerned about these revelations, sent a memo to all the 30 NBA general managers, addressing the situation.
The memo, according to the source, contradicts the reports claiming Aaron Goodwin warned multiple NBA teams against trading for Lillard, citing his sole desire to be traded to Miami.
After interviewing both Goodwin and Lillard, the NBA confirmed that Damian Lillard is committed to fully perform under his player contract in any trade scenario. Despite this assurance, the statements from relevant teams do not entirely align with Goodwin’s statements, showing a conflict in the communications.
NBA’s memo impact on Damian Lillard’s trade situation
The NBA’s executive vice president and deputy general counsel, Dan Rube, who sent out the letter, highlighted the serious consequences of future comments suggesting Lillard’s unwillingness to perform under his player contract post-trade.
Such remarks, whether made privately or publicly, could make Lillard and potentially other players in similar situations subject to NBA discipline. According to Section 18 of the League’s collective bargaining agreement, any public expression of a desire to be traded could result in a fine and/or suspension, with the fine amount capped at $150,000.
During an exclusive interview on Aug. 18, Damian Lillard was asked about his trade request to the Miami Heat, but declined to offer details, knowing he could be fined by the NBA for doing so.
— ESPN (@espn) August 24, 2023
The Miami Herald had initially reported Lillard’s wish to exclusively play for the Heat after his trade request on July 1. This claim was later publicly confirmed by Goodwin. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski also reported that Goodwin had warned teams about acquiring an unhappy player, further complicating the trade scenario.
Damian Lillard’s agent has been calling teams and warning against trading for him, per @wojespn
“Goodwin is telling organizations outside of Miami that trading for Lillard is trading for an unhappy player.” pic.twitter.com/NZRyne8JWC
— NBACentral (@TheDunkCentral) July 6, 2023
These unfolding events have left the Trail Blazers’ management in a difficult position. General Manager Joe Cronin remains quiet about the potential trade to the Heat, indicating that he is prepared to wait for months to decide on the matter.
Despite the public declarations and warnings, the Trail Blazers still not engaged in any significant trade discussions with the Heat. This hesitant stance may be because of the severe warning from the NBA’s memo, highlighting the ongoing complexities of Lillard’s anticipated trade situation.
The Lillard incident shows the delicate and complex nature of player trades, where contrasting statements and interests create uncertainty, impacting all parties involved. The League’s intervention suggests the importance of adherence to contractual obligations and NBA regulations.