NBA Exec: Lillard Trade Market "Never Really There"

Eyebrows were raised around the league when the ultimate loyalist, Damian Lillard, finally asked the Portland Trail Blazers to trade him. But even more than that, he demanded that it only be to the Miami Heat. 

But now, according to an NBA front office executive quoted in a Forbes article by insider Sean Deveney, even without the Heat, the Lillard trade market was "never really there."

It was not anything Dame said or (agent) Aaron Goodwin said that shut down the market... But there weren’t teams lined up for him even before that... 

I don’t think anyone likes the idea of Dame coming in and forcing the Blazers’ hand like this, forcing them to take a deal from a team that does not have the assets. That’s a bad precedent, and it is one we are seeing too much of. But if Dame had not said, ‘Miami or nothing,’ where else was Portland really going to go for a deal? Maybe Brooklyn? But where else? There’s not that many teams that are going to give you a bunch of players and picks for a 33-year-old who can’t stay healthy and has a giant contract sitting there.

Lillard has a guarantee owed to him of about $215M over the next four seasons. There are not many teams that can, or want to take that on, even for a superstar of Dame's proportions. He'll be earning $63M at age 36 when that contract wraps up.

Lillard also, as the executive implied, has missed huge chunks of games the last two seasons due to injuries, which further hampers his market. 

But when he does play, he is still producing at a superstar level. He led the NBA with 15 40-point games last season, and finished the year averaging a career-high 32.2 points, good for 3rd in the league.

For now, however, the Trail Blazers just don't seem all that motivated to just give him away to Miami. 

Photo: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports