It’s time for the Blazers to accept reality with their Damian Lillard mess

Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers, Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers, Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports /

Damian Lillard asked the Trail Blazers for a trade more than two months ago, and although the season is getting closer, no progress has been made on a deal. Training camp is coming soon, and as of right now, a massive media storm will arrive with it.

As long as Lillard remains in Portland, the focus will be on him rather than the future and the young, promising trio of guards the organization has assembled in Scoot Henderson, Shaedon Sharpe and Anfernee Simons.

Instead of taking questions like, “How is Scoot looking during the first few days of practice?” or “What improvements have you seen from Shaedon Sharpe?” players, coaches and executives will be repeatedly asked some version of, “What’s the latest on Dame?”

In short, if Lillard is still in Portland by the time training camp rolls around, the Blazers are going to find themselves in the midst of chaos.

And even worse, it’ll be unnecessary, self-inflicted chaos.

The Blazers need to accept reality and trade Damian Lillard to the Miami Heat

It’s time to let go, take the Heat’s best offer and move on for three important reasons:

  1. The aforementioned training camp distraction. Nothing good can come of having Lillard around unless general manager Joe Cronin is a thousand percent sure there’s a trade nearing completion. And going off what’s developed – or, rather, not developed – over the past two months, it’s difficult to believe that would be the case.
  2. No other team has shown any legitimate interest in acquiring Lillard. Which leads to reason No. 3.
  3. The Heat have absolutely no reason to increase its current offer. The most recent report claims that an offer of three or four first-round picks, a young player and potentially some second-rounders is on the table for the Blazers. Considering Miami’s consistent success since Pat Riley took over the front office, it’s likely those picks end up landing somewhere in the back half of the first round. To put at least a tiny positive spin on it, though, Riley has never offered that many draft picks in any trade, and even if just two selections come from the Heat, the other should hold more potential as it will come from a third team – which presumably isn’t a title contender like Miami – acquiring Tyler Herro.

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Nothing about this situation is ideal, which makes it even more imperative Cronin takes what Miami has to offer and lets the franchise and fan base just move on. Any Lillard trade return won’t be the end-all be-all of the current rebuild. The Trail Blazers are finally intent on tearing everything down and starting over, which means any assets they get from the Heat can be used in any potential future deals.

It’s time for Portland to move on from the Damian Lillard saga – even if it means getting a less-than-ideal return for one of the best players in franchise history.