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#pounditThursday, June 13, 2024

Report: NBA warns Damian Lillard about his trade stance

Damian Lillard looks on

Mar 10, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) against the Philadelphia 76ers at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Damian Lillard’s handling of his Portland Trail Blazers trade demand has him in some hot water with the NBA.

Lillard and his agent, Aaron Goodwin, have reportedly maintained that Lillard wants a trade and is only interested in going to the Miami Heat, which prompted the league to intervene and interview both of them. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the NBA warned Lillard that further comments like that could subject him to NBA discipline, and sent a memo to all 30 teams regarding such demands.

“The league advised both Lillard and Goodwin that any future comments of the sort, as far as him wanting to only play in Miami, will potentially subject him to discipline,” Charania said. “As well as a warning to the NBPA that any future comments by players, their agents, that are similar to the ones, as far as ‘I only want to play for this specific team’ in a trade request, that could also be subject to potential discipline as well.

“In reading this memo, the NBA told its teams that they spoke to Goodwin, they spoke to Lillard, and that Goodwin essentially denied telling teams that Lillard would only play in Miami. From what this memo states, the NBA also spoke to other teams, and essentially they were given the messaging as well that Goodwin’s statements were consistent.”

The NBA was seriously concerned about the rhetoric from Lillard’s camp if they saw fit to interview both of them and issue a memo regarding the situation. That stance is understandable. Lillard is under contract and does not have a no-trade clause, so there is nothing he can really do if he is traded somewhere he does not want to go. That is what prompted the reported threat Goodwin supposedly made to teams other than Miami.

From the NBA’s perspective, if players and their camps are able to say what Lillard’s camp has with impunity, it significantly impacts a team’s leverage to get the best deal, which is what the Blazers are trying to do. It also further undermines the security teams aim to have when signing a player long-term, especially when those contracts do not include no-trade clauses.

Lillard has been loyal to Portland, and his camp clearly hoped that loyalty would be repaid by sending him to his preferred team. The Blazers responded to Lillard’s demand by digging their heels in, and the response from Lillard’s camp crossed a line, at least in the eyes of the NBA.


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