By STEVEN VAUGHAN, 750 THE GAME
Damian Lillard has made it official and he wants out of Rip City. The next question is: Where is he going to land?
Some Blazers fans want GM Joe Cronin to trade Lillard to Miami, because that’s where Lillard has expressed he wants to play at. The problem is that Miami may not have the assets the Blazers should be wanting.
Bill Riley of ESPN 700 in Salt Lake City joined John Canzano on the Bald Faced Truth and said the Blazers could learn a lesson from the Utah Jazz who dealt All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell to the Cleveland Cavaliers last offseason.
“The Blazers have to do what’s best for the Blazers,” Riley said on 750 The Game. “What the Jazz did last summer, Donovan Mitchell wanted to go to New York. Well, New York didn’t have what the Jazz wanted, so they sent him to Cleveland. No offense, I like Dame Lillard, but the Blazers don’t owe him anything at this point in time. If they want to accommodate him, that’s fine, but they’ve got to look after what’s best for their organization. ”
The Jazz seemed like a long shot to acquire Lillard earlier in the offseason. But Riley says the Jazz have exactly what the Blazers need — young players and draft picks.
“They added three rookies to the roster this year,” Riley said of the Jazz. “Got a couple more first round picks next year and the year after. How many young guys can you really have? The fact that they found out last year that they have some good players, I think their timeline moved up.”
If the Blazers are to trade Lillard to Utah they will have to be dealing with Danny Ainge, now the CEO of Basketball Operations for the Jazz. Ainge was in charge of the Boston Celtics for a long time including leading the Celtics to a championship. And as Riley says, Ainge is a good poker player and is also not afraid to make a deal.
“I think that’s the type of swing Ainge would take,” Riley said of the possible Lillard trade. “Look when he brought in Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett to play with Paul Pierce in Boston. He’s not afraid to take chances.
“Somebody told me the other day, Danny — who’s a great poker player– he’s going to be patient here. Watch what goes out there, but the person I talked to said they (Utah) want to take a shot at Dame Lillard.”
Those are some very interesting comments out of Salt Lake City. We know that Danny Ainge wants to make a play at Damian Lillard. Do the Blazers and Joe Cronin do what is best for the franchise? Or does he unload him to Miami where Lillard wants to play?
It’s going to be a very interesting summer.
Listen to the full interview with ESPN 700’s Bill Riley by clicking the podcast below. Catch the Bald Faced Truth with John Canzano weekdays 3-6 p.m. in Portland exclusively on 750 The Game.