The Damian Lillard saga has stretched on for months, but now, it appears to be nearing its conclusion. The Portland Trail Blazers star may have requested a trade to the Miami Heat in July, but only now do talks appear to be heating up. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, while no deal is imminent, the Blazers "are certainly behaving like a team that wants to get a deal done before training camp." The catch, according to Wojnarowski, is that the Heat are not currently involved in those talks.
This of course can change, according to Wojnarowski, and if Lillard has his way, it will. Lillard's agent, Aaron Goodwin, has made it clear throughout the process that the All-Star point guard wants to play for the Heat. That stance has been so strong that the NBA even investigated it earlier in the offseason and sent out a memo to all 30 teams making it clear that Lillard would be disciplined if he threatened not to fulfill his contractual obligation if he traded to a team besides the Heat.
It is unclear at this time what Miami is willing to offer in a deal for Lillard or what other teams might be pursuing him. Regardless of where Lillard lands, Wojnarowski reports that a number of other teams have been involved in talks as possible facilitators. In deals of this magnitude, extra teams are often needed for financial reasons or to reroute players that don't fit on the teams that trade for them. If Miami is involved in the deal, for example, the guard-heavy Blazers would likely send Tyler Herro elsewhere.
For the time being, however, Miami does not appear motivated to make a trade at all costs. "I don't think the Heat are desperate at all to trade for Damian Lillard," ESPN's Brian Windhorst said, adding that he does not believe the two teams have engaged recently.
Blazers training camp begins on Oct. 3. Usually, media day comes one day prior, so in a perfect world, the Blazers will find a deal before then. That would leave a little bit more than a week to secure a deal that, for the past two-and-a-half months, has not materialized. Of course, deadlines spur action in the NBA, so with talks beginning to intensify, a trade seems closer than ever.