The opening of NBA training camps is less than two weeks away, and star guard Damian Lillard is still on the Portland Trail Blazers roster. Thus leaving the Trail Blazers and Lillard in limbo. While trade talks for the disgruntled point guard are expected to heat up again, Portland remains reluctant to send the 33-year-old guard to the Miami Heat. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported that talks between the two clubs remain at an impasse.
“What the Blazers want – if they’re dealing with one team, if it is Miami or nothing – they want what the Nets got from the Suns (for Kevin Durant),” Windhorst said on Monday’s Hoop Collective podcast.
“I understand that. And a year ago right now, the Nets weren’t getting it from the Suns, whatever initial talks that they had. But the concept is that (the Blazers) want the Heat to literally scrounge into every nook and cranny and produce everything they possibly can. And the Heat don’t feel the need to do that, and they haven’t since June.”
NBA Rumors: Pelicans and Bulls Linked In Trade for Dame Lillard & Buddy Hield’s Potential Trade Suitors
Then, on Tuesday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, per Miami Herald’s Brian Jackson and Anthony Chiang, reiterated the Trail Blazers’ unwillingness to engage with the Heat in talks on. Woj added that the Blazers are talking with other teams about a trade.
“There has not been conversation really this summer, perhaps since July, with Portland and Miami,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said Tuesday. “What Miami looks at essentially is we don’t believe you have something better than you know we can give you. And teams don’t just spend their time calling [and saying], ‘Let me offer you more, let me offer you more.’ That’s not a negotiation. There’s a lot of gamesmanship in how this goes.” A source said this week that Portland generally has continued to be reluctant to engage the Heat in serious talks and has acted disinterested in getting a deal done quickly with Miami, though that conceivably could change as the start of training camp approaches in early October. “[The] Heat want Damian Lillard. They just want him for as little as they’re going to have to give up. They’re essentially daring Portland to go out into the marketplace, which Portland is doing, and see if they can find better.”
While the Heat have been long suitors for Lillard, a few other teams have popped up recently. The Toronto Raptors have reportedly kicked the tires on possibly acquiring the seven-time all-star.
“I’ve heard that it’s not just one team, that multiple teams in the East [called for Dame], the Raptors being one of them. That’s the thing nobody is really saying, but everyone around the league knows the Raptors we’re amongst the teams. They’ve kicked the tires”- @HPbasketball pic.twitter.com/K30tpbt0sp
— Dru (@dru_star) September 19, 2023
There are rumors that the New Orleans Pelicans and Chicago Bulls are interested in getting involved with Lillard.
New Orleans Pelicans Could Become Involved In Lillard Trade
On his Lowe Post podcast (September 19), ESPN’s Zach Lowe said that some executives around the league have speculated that New Orleans, which has a handful of extra draft assets, could be a suitor for the Blazers star.
New Orleans potentially has two first-round draft picks in 2024 and 2025. The Pelicans also have their first-round selection from 2024-2030 and the Milwaukee Bucks’ 2027 choice.
However, Lowe’s colleague Andrew Lopez is skeptical. “It wouldn’t surprise me if they were involved, but as a third or fourth team,” Lopez said of New Orleans. “That would be, I think, the extent that they would try to get involved in a Damian Lillard trade.”
Chicago Bulls Interested In Lillard
The most recent team is rumored to be interested in getting involved in a trade for Lillard, per Kyle Neubeck of PHLY Sports.
Neubeck said that he hears that the Bulls have been exploring the possibility of moving Zach LaVine in a multi-team deal to see if they can get a combination of players and picks in return that would interest Portland.
This is not the first time that trade rumors have circulated around LaVine earlier this offseason. However, the Bulls have publicly denied that he is available.
Derek Bodner confirmed on the podcast that he has heard the Bulls mentioned in conversations with other reporters, but he calls it a “borderline crazy gamble.” Meanwhile, Rich Hofman said the Bulls are desperate, so a big swing on a Lillard-type deal might be understandable.
Indiana Pacers Looking to Deal Buddy Hield
On Wednesday night, the Athletic’s Shams Charania reported that the representatives for Buddy Hield will work with the Indiana Pacers to find a suitable trade partner after Hield and the team failed to agree on a contract extension.
“Hield is open to a trade elsewhere, according to rival team sources, but no deal is imminent and there aren’t any current substantive talks with any other team,” Charania wrote. “The Pacers did offer Hield an extension in recent weeks, but it’s believed their proposal did not make the seven-year guard feel desired, league sources said.”
Hield is entering the final year of his contract in 2023-24. The 31-year-old wing is slated to make $19.2 million this year, although he is eligible for a renegotiation and extension, according to Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype.
Buddy Hield has been eligible for a renegotiation and extension with the Indiana Pacers. They still have leftover cap space they could use to increase his $19.3 million salary for this season in a renegotiation. https://t.co/y1SqPMlPgr
— Yossi Gozlan (@YossiGozlan) September 20, 2023
Indiana used the renogation and extension tactic with Myles Turner last season. Turner, slated to become a free agent last season, signed a two-year renegotiation extension worth $58 million. Turner also saw his 2022-23 salary jump from $17.1 million-to-$34.6 million as part of the deal. But the Pacers and Turner didn’t get the deal done until January 30.
Indiana acquired Hield and Tyrese Haliburton in a deal with the Kings at the 2022 trade deadline. He is one of the most dangerous 3-point shooters in the league. Hield has made an NBA-high 1,381 over the last five years and is a career 40.2% shooter from downtown. He made a career-high 288 treys last season.
Hield averaged 16.8 points and 3.6 threes with a slash line of .458/.425/.822 last season. He set a career-high with 92 steals. Hield also totaled 500 rebounds and 225 assists, both are the second-best mark of his career.
Potential Suitors For Hield
Now that it is known that Hield is available to be had this season, he will become one of the most sought-after players. There is no indication that a trade will happen soon. So, there is a good chance that Hield will remain with the Pacers until the trade deadline. This assumes that the Pacers and Hield don’t ultimately agree on an extension.
The Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks have previously showed interest in Hield.
Teams With Potential Interest
The Lakers were reportedly interested in acquiring Turner and Hield last season. However, the Lakers made a plethora of quality offseason moves. The Lakers brought in Taureen Prince and Cam Reddish to help with the Lakers shooting woes. But Hield is better and more proficient from deep than they are. Reddish is the bigger concern for Los Angeles, as he has yet to play 60 games in a season. So, the Lakers will likely be at least interested in having trade discussions.
Meanwhile, Daron Twigg of Fan Nation spun the idea that the Dallas Mavericks may be interested in acquiring Hield. Twigg said the Mavs have been linked to Hield in past trade rumors. Twig also mentioned that a trade that would send Tim Hardaway Jr. whom Dallas has been shopping around this summer, could benefit both clubs.
The Lakers and Mavericks make a lot of sense for Hield. The New York Knicks also make sense for Hield and perhaps they could include a sufficient enough package for Inidana to take Evan Fournier and his expiring contract. Actually, the money works out so the Knicks would probably need to include a couple of picks and perhaps Immanuel Quickley or Quentin Grimes.
Several more teams will likely become interested as the season progresses. These clubs could include Toronto, Orlando, New Orleans, and Portland.