Why Trail Blazers GM Joe Cronin Made The Right Choice Not Taking Damian Lillard Back


The Portland Trail Blazers are no stranger to stars requesting a trade away from the franchise. Bill Walton, Clyde Drexler, and most recently Damian Lillard.

Former Trail Blazers GM Bob Whitsitt was on the Bald Faced Truth with John Canzano on Monday. Whitsitt was the GM who had the job when Drexler requested to be traded, and Whitsitt explained to Canzano the situation he was a part of with Clyde Drexler and how it was different than the Lillard situation.

“I think with Clyde it was a little different. He wanted out but he never changed his mind,” Whitsitt said on 750 The Game. “He wanted out. I had to sort of work with him a little bit. He wasn’t going to come to training camp and then he wasn’t going to go to Japan with us. He was trying to put the leverage on us to get a deal done instantly. I convinced him at some point in time that ‘Clyde, the best thing you can do is play. Be Clyde Drexler. Let the league see you’re still Clyde Drexler and then to give me more opportunities to find a home for you.'”

Blazers fans are still going to be fans of Damian Lillard and that’s OK. Cronin put Lillard in a great spot just like Whitsitt did with Drexler. Whitsitt said it perfectly on how the situation with Drexler ended.

“Eventually he got his ring in Houston.”

Ultimately in sports things happen and it usually ends with star players wanting out of their market. For the Blazers fans who wanted Lillard to stay in Portland even though he had requested a trade out, an article by Chris Haynes suggested that Lillard said he would come back to Portland if the Blazers couldn’t find a trade to Miami. But Bob Whitsitt says that Joe Cronin made the right choice by not taking Lillard back. The damage had already been done.

“Once a player tells you that they want out, if they then kind of do a flip flop on you, I’d be a little leery, because you’ve got to be all in and if you said you want out all summer and then you do a quick, ‘I want back’, odds are you probably are going to say you want out again,” said Whitsitt.

It’s a new era in Rip City. Whether it’s Scoot Henderson, Anfernee Simons, or Shaedon Sharpe there will be a new star for the Blazers. According to Whitsitt, that was the right choice given the history he has experienced.

Listen to the full interview with Bob Whitsitt by clicking the link below. Catch the Bald Faced Truth with John Canzano weekdays 3-6 p.m. in Portland exclusively on 750 The Game.