Trail Blazers have ‘shut down’ Damian Lillard trade inquiries

The Portland Trail Blazers have rebuffed inquiries into All-Star guard Damian Lillard ahead of Thursday’s NBA Draft, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports.

Wojnarowski told “The Pat McAfee Show” on Wednesday that Lillard “wants to be in Portland, and the Blazers have shut down anybody who’s called about the possibility of trying to trade for him.”

Wojnarowski made the statement while discussing potential interest from the Miami Heat in acquiring Lillard. He added the caveat that the Heat are monitoring the situation for “any point this summer where Damian Lillard becomes available.”

“He’s not available now,” Wojnarowski continued.

A seven-time All-Star, Lillard is once again the subject of offseason trade speculation after the Trail Blazers failed to make the postseason. One of the league’s premier scorers and playmakers, Lillard would be a valuable addition to a team that’s in contention for an NBA championship. The Trail Blazers don’t appear to be one of those teams.

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard walks on the court during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers Monday, Oct. 25, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard during the first half of an NBA game against the Los Angeles Clippers on Oct. 25, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

Lillard, 32, has remained loyal to the franchise that drafted him 11 seasons ago and appears to remain so after signing a two-year, $122 million extension last summer that runs through the 2024-25 season. He did express his desire during his season-ending media availability for Portland to build with veteran players and give the franchise a chance to compete for a championship in the near term.

“I think, that’s enough 19-year-olds,” Lillard said in April while referring to teammate Shaedon Sharpe, last year’s first-round draft pick out of Kentucky. “You probably won’t find one that will come along the way he has. I’m just not interested in that.

“And this is not a secret. I want a chance to go for it. And if the route is to do that, then that’s not my route. I think we’re all in line with doing what we got to do to put a team together that we can actually go out there and get something done.”

Portland has the No. 3 pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft. How the Trail Blazers proceed this offseason could go a long way in determining how much Lillard continues to want to be in Portland.