Blazers to wait ‘months’ for Lillard trade

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Tim BontempsESPNJuly 11, 2023, 5:14 AMRead in 6 minutes

Blazers GM plans to wait ‘months’ for Lillard trade

Trail Blazers general manager Joe Cronin says he’s in no rush to trade Damian Lillard.

LAS VEGAS — Portland Trail Blazers general manager Joe Cronin said Monday he will leave the franchise in the best possible position if Damian Lillard eventually trades one of its best players. He said it could take “many months” to complete the trade to meet its objectives. So that I can wear the team uniform.

“What I have learned is that patience is the most important thing,” Cronin said at a news conference at the Thomas and Mack Center on Monday afternoon. “Don’t be passive. Don’t jump into things just because they seem to have solved a problem. The teams that have had the most positive post-trade situations are the ones that have taken the time and taken it seriously. I think ‘a team that wasn’t impulsive or really had a sense of urgency under control.

“So my approach so far has always been and will always be. We’re going to be patient and do what’s best for the team. We’ll see how the situation unfolds. And if it takes months, it takes months.”

Cronin said he hadn’t spoken to Lillard since July 1, when the player requested a trade. The request came after an 18-month period in which Portland had back-to-back draft picks in the top half of the lottery–Cronyn’s 2019-2016 season saw Shadon Sharp last year and Scoot Henderson last month. Selection used for a pair of teenagers.

And throughout the process, Cronin said he was trying to find the win-win upgrades right now to make Lillard the winner, having spent his entire 11-year career in Portland, but “what’s the best?” gave the answer to the question. What about the Trailblazers? It was about drafting young players rather than turning nominated players into veteran talent.

“Building around Dame was always the goal, even during the draft,” Cronin said. “The difficulty we faced was finding the right deal. For the last two years we drafted No. 7 and then No. 3. In the meantime, we’re looking for more winning players. I was looking around the market, but what happened was going on.’ So I tried to consider it every time.

“In Shaedon’s draft, how does Pick 7 compare to what’s available on the market? And the answer was clear: Shaedon is better. What would the Pick 3 be like compared to its return to the market? I had to go because I wasn’t close [making the pick].

“So it wasn’t necessarily intentional. We just did what was best for this team, and we kept at it, and I could understand Dame looking at it and saying, ‘Well , this is not your chance to win ‘or here it is not as much as it is anywhere else’. I can understand why he would go elsewhere. “

And with four years and more than $200 million left on his contract after signing a two-year extension with the franchise last summer, Lillard is considering a move elsewhere, but has one destination in mind. revealed that only In the Miami Heat, the combination of Lillard, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo will soon put the franchise on the running list for another championship at least as Eastern Conference champions.

But right now, Cronin hasn’t found a deal to his liking for a future Hall of Fame point guard who is Portland’s career-high scorer and is about to end arguably the best season of his career. However, he added that he cares about Lillard and wants him to be in the best possible position going forward, involving CJ McCallum and Josh Hart as examples of seeking the best for both parties. Mention past contracts. It tends to lead to better results than his one team participating in negotiations, and such limited deals are not easy to pull off.

“What happens to him for the rest of his career is important to us and we care about it,” Cronin said. “At the same time, we have to do what is best for us, find the right contract, find the right team composition for us to move forward.

“So you hope that you can find the perfect situation where it matches and goes where he wants and you get the best return possible. It doesn’t work like that.”

Cronin said he was happy to maintain the services of Jerami Grant and Mattis Cybull, who joined on Monday after agreeing new deals with the franchise, but the goal is always to further upgrade the squad through trades. It was to be. And before Lillard requested a trade on July 1, he said he wanted more time to look for a deal, but understood why Lillard made that decision. .

As a result, Cronin blamed himself for Lillard in the light of his inability to bring the roster to a position where Lillard felt competitive enough to win immediately, despite Cronin stating that He admitted that he felt disappointed. He believes the team’s young core players, Henderson, Sharpe and Anfanie Simmons, will be “soon” winners.

“I don’t feel like we’ve done everything because we didn’t get what we wanted,” Cronin said. “That there was effort, that’s another thing. But actually doing it and getting results is another thing altogether, and I feel like I’ve failed Dame in that regard.”

“Our goal was always to build around him and get to the highest level as quickly as possible. And even internally, if we were like, ‘Well, we’re going in the right direction here.’ Even if he didn’t feel like ‘get there soon’, it was still my fault in not finding the right deal. “

And while Cronin has repeatedly said he wants to do the right thing by Lillard’s side and won’t be rushed into a bad deal, he also said that the goal for Lillard has always been to finish his career where it started. . He still holds out hope that it might happen.

“We’re not losing hope because we know this league is complicated and things change quickly,” Cronin said. “Sometimes it gives us more information. Sometimes things are different than we thought they were, but that’s why in this league we always have to stay agile and adapt to changing circumstances. It shouldn’t be, and that’s how I see it.”

“I don’t know what the future holds. I don’t know what’s going to happen here in the end. I just know that I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out differently than I originally expected.”

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