By now, everyone who follows the NBA knows that Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard has requested a trade, specifically to the Heat.
We know that because Lillard made his trade more than a month ago, on July 1. Yet he’s still a member of the Blazers.
As we’ve relayed repeatedly, the Blazers have not been impressed with anything the Heat have offered. It seems that for now, talks have been tabled. And attempts to bring in a third team have proved unsuccessful.
A lot of that is because most teams are only willing to make minor changes between now and the start of the season. Rivals don’t care if Lillard ends up with the Heat — and don’t care if Lillard or Miami get their wish. They are solely focused on their own squads and their own seasons.
Most of the major roster changes came in July and those around the NBA are vacationing and just looking forward to training camp in the first week of October.
That sort of leaves Lillard and the Heat in limbo. It also makes it seem as if GM Joe Cronin spoke the truth when he predicted a Lillard trade could “take months” to execute.
So it may not be a surprise that a panel of ESPN experts projected that Lillard will still be with the Blazers when the season begins.
According to the poll, 52 percent of the voters said Lillard will still be in Portland when the season tips off on October 25 at the Clippers. Almost all of the rest (44 percent) predicted he will indeed be with the Heat, who open at home against the Pistons, also on October 25.
So perhaps some are forecasting a Lillard-for-Harden swap (which checks out salary-wise, by the way).
But Lillard? Back with the Blazers to start the season? It seems like that could get messy. That said, with the way things have gone since his trade request, the experts may be onto something.