For teams calling about trading for Damian Lillard, the message from the Portland Trail Blazers has been unambiguous: Bring your best offer and make your team our preferred trade destination. General manager Joe Cronin doesn't plan to operate a transfer portal to the Miami Heat and dutifully deliver history's greatest Blazer to his targeted team.
Ownership plans to honor Lillard's request for a trade, but Blazers officials are telling teams they'll move Lillard for only the deepest return of assets available. Portland is pursuing the sliding scale superstar package of desirable draft picks and high-level young players. For the summer, Cronin's betting the market over Miami.
As he executes the exit of the greatest player in franchise history, executives talking to Cronin describe him as devoid of sentiment. Business for Lillard, business for the Blazers.