Damian Lillard abandoning loyalty for South Beach: ‘Truthfully, he wants to play for Miami’

13 July 2023

The Portland Trail Blazers owe Damian Lillard over $175 million. But apparently, Lillard believes their obligation extends to something else:

Making sure he goes to South Beach.

The point guard’s agent, Aaron Goodwin, has taken the trade demand to the next level by warning potential suitors that Lillard would become disgruntled if acquired by a team other than the Heat.

“I do what I should for my client,” Goodwin told the Miami Herald. “Some teams I did call. Other teams have called me. It’s a respectful relationship with most teams.

“Truthfully, he wants to play for Miami. Period.”

The circumstances are troubling for a number of reasons. Mainly for the Blazers. On one hand, Lillard represents arguably the greatest player in franchise history and a symbol of commitment to a team that largely mismanaged the roster during his tenure.

On the other hand, Lillard’s Miami-or-bust stance places the Blazers at a terrible disadvantage in negotiations. Assuming the Heat won’t offer Bam Adebayo (it won’t), the potential package from Miami isn’t very appealing — and it gets worse if Pat Riley only bids against himself. Tyler Herro’s big contract is a negative asset.

It’s no surprise that Blazers GM Joe Cronin sent out a message that he “wants the deepest return of assets available” and won’t just “deliver” Lillard to Miami.

The competition — namely the Nets, Celtics and Spurs — could offer a better package.

With that said, hard-stance trade requests usually get the job done. It twice worked for James Harden, who successfully rerouted himself to Brooklyn and then Philadelphia. It worked for Kevin Durant to Phoenix. It worked for Bradley Beal, who applied the weight of a no-trade clause.

The question for Lillard, though, is more about legacy and reputation. Until this point, he’s been the poster player for loyalty. He marketed himself as a throwback to an age of sticking with a single uniform. He stayed in one of the smallest markets and maximized his contracts.

Perhaps Lillard feels he built up enough equity with the fans that it doesn’t matter if he screws over the franchise on the way out. Maybe that’s correct. Maybe it’ll take a few years for the fanbase to forgive Lillard.

Either way, this isn’t good news for the Knicks or Nets. The Heat was probably already above the two local franchises, but acquiring Lillard for Herro and draft picks places Erik Spoelstra’s squad at another level.

The Bad Guys usually do fine once they get to South Beach. Ask LeBron James.


It has been almost a full year since Leon Rose did an interview — and almost two years since he spoke to anybody in media not affiliated with the Knicks. But one of his top executives — Allan Houston — offered his thoughts on the last season in a podcast recently with Dr. William Holley of WBH Radio.

Houston, the Knicks VP Player Leadership and Development, gave kudos to Jalen Brunson, whose signing last summer boosted New York to its first playoff series victory in a decade.

“Jalen came in and provided some stability and leadership and some dynamics to the offense. Everybody just kept getting better,” Houston told WBH Radio. “Everybody improved. Mitch improved. Quick improved. Quentin. Obi. You always have to have the depth. Because it’s a long season. Guys are going to get banged up. And sometimes it’s not going to be a guy’s night.

“So you have to have that stability, you have to have that depth. So when you look at how that played out, people had a level of expectation and anticipation that allowed for it to be a really exciting postseason. I listen to people and I try to have a good filter. I learned that as a player. But I think people are excited about — we have a foundation to build on. Guys are young but I feel like there’s a maturity. There’s a character and depth to the personalities on the team.”

Houston also plugged his mentoring initiative, FISLL (Faith, Integrity, Sacrifice, Leadership, Legacy), which engages youth in conversations and activities geared toward life success.


Although the Knicks said that former second-round pick Rokas Jokubaitis wasn’t playing in Summer League because of international team commitments, his agent, Šarūnas Broga, told the Daily News it was more about the lack of opportunity with the senior Knicks.

“There is no room for Rokas on the Knicks roster, therefore playing summer league doesn’t make much sense,” Broga said.


Gerrsson Rosas, a senior Knicks advisor, is among the four honorees at the L’ATTITUDE Vanguard awards, which recognizes Latino leaders in sports.

Rosas, who has been tabbed a frontrunner to land the open Knicks GM job, will be recognized Friday night in Vegas with James Borrego (assistant coach on the Pelicans), Earl Watson (former head coach on the Suns) and Alvaro Martin (Broadcaster and Spanish voice of the NBA).


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