Report: Blazers declined Lillard’s request to return if Heat move failed

Report: Blazers declined Lillard’s request to return if Heat move failed

Though Damian Lillard first asked for a trade from the Portland Trail Blazers, the organization was not willing to take the superstar back in the event he rescinded his request, sources told Bleacher Report’s Chris Haynes.

The now-Milwaukee Buck reportedly preferred to rescind his trade request if a deal to the Miami Heat was unattainable, but general manager Joe Cronin told him there was no coming back, notes Haynes.

Despite the wide assumption that Lillard would end up on the Heat, there were reportedly multiple internal issues that significantly diminished those chances.

According to Haynes, the Blazers and Heat never spoke after Summer League in early July. Feeling underwhelmed with Miami’s package, Portland continued to search for other trade partners. The Heat also reportedly felt like the Blazers allowed their emotions to get in the way of negotiations.

Lillard reportedly waited until mid-September to submit his requests to be dealt to a team other than Miami – once it was clear he would be unwelcome in Portland. Milwaukee and the Brooklyn Nets were the two franchises he considered.

Despite the reported animosity between Lillard and the organization where he spent 11 years as the starting point guard, the seven-time All-Star sent out a lengthy, heartfelt message to the city of Portland and Blazers organization on Thursday night.

— Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) September 28, 2023

Lillard’s first chance to return to his old stomping grounds will come on Jan. 31.

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