Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard has said a lot this summer, sending messages in both very direct and indirect ways.
After directly telling the organization that he wants to be traded, he’s made a few comments about the request in subliminal messages. Those messages continued late Sunday night.
“Either you play the game or let the game play you and be that broke mf talking bout I stayed true,” Lillard tweeted.
For years, NBA experts and opposing fans clamored for Lillard to request a trade from the Blazers, who did not do a sufficient job to build a contending roster centered around him. But only this offseason did that trade request become a reality.
Lillard requested a trade on July 1, shortly after free agency began and the team signed Jerami Grant to a five-year contract. From there, Lillard has tried to angle his way to the Miami Heat.
His agent, Aaron Goodwin, reportedly told other teams that Lillard wouldn’t report to another team if he was traded there. That prompted the NBA to send a memo to all 30 teams.
Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report and TNT has the full text of the memo:
Recent media reports stated that Damian Lillard’s agent, Aaron Goodwin, called multiple NBA teams to warn them against trading for Lillard because Lillard’s only desired trade destination is Miami. Goodwin also made public comments indicating that Lillard would not fully perform the services called for under his player contract if traded to another team.
We interviewed Goodwin and Lillard and also spoke with several NBA teams to whom Goodwin spoke. Goodwin denied stating or indicating to any team that Lillard would refuse to play for them. Goodwin and Lillard affirmed to us that Lillard would fully perform the services called for under his player contract in any trade scenario. The relevant teams provided descriptions of their communications with Goodwin that were mostly, though not entirely, consistent with Goodwin’s statements to us.
We have advised Goodwin and Lillard that any future comments, made privately to teams or publicly, suggesting Lillard will not fully perform the services called for under his player contract in the event of a trade will subject Lillard to discipline by the NBA. We also have advised the Players Association that any similar comments by players or their agents will be subject to discipline going forward.
Since then, there’s been silence all around, except for snippets like the tweet above. You can close a door, but light is still going to leak through the cracks.