Trading the franchise centerpiece was not an assignment Portland Trail Blazers general manager Joe Cronin requested
But Cronin seems to understand that's his reality.
Speaking during NBA Summer League in Las Vegas on Monday, Cronin called for patience as Portland hits reset and awaits an offer the Trail Blazers consider a good one in exchange for All-Star Damian Lillard
"We're going to be patient. We're going to do what's best for our team," said Cronin, echoing statements he made after the 2023 NBA Draft when Lillard formally requested a trade. "We're going to see how this lands. And if it takes months, it takes months."
Cronin hasn't talked to Lillard since the meeting to discuss his future last month.
"In any deal, the goal is to come out with the best outcome. It could be more of a win-now player. It could be a young player and picks. It could be just picks. There's no set parameters," Cronin said of what kind of return he wants in a trade.
Lillard and his agent informed the Blazers that there is only one acceptable outcome: Lillard playing for the Miami Heat. Cronin wouldn't comment on trade talks with the Heat or any team.
Cronin said a trade that works for everyone will require more than one preferred destination. He also acknowledged Lillard doesn't see Portland as a place where he can win now and, at 33, wants to find that opportunity.
He said he gets that "Dame would look at (the Blazers) and see why this isn't a win-now opportunity."
According to reports, Lillard was frustrated that Portland didn't add a player in free agency who can help the Blazers contend for a championship. Instead, the Blazers held onto the No. 3 pick and selected Scoot Henderson, who also plays point guard.
Cronin said he emphasized in conversations with Lillard that Henderson, 2022 first-round pick Shaedon Sharpe and 24-year-old shooting guard Anfernee Simons will be "win-now players very soon."
--Field Level Media