Earlier this month, nine-time NBA All-Star Damian Lillard decided he was ready to move on from the Portland Trail Blazers.
Lillard requested a trade from Portland, and the team is working to “accommodate” him, according to multiple reports.
In the weeks since, reports have surfaced that Lillard’s representatives have made it clear he only wants to play for the Miami Heat in 2023-24.
The posturing prompted the league to issue a memo to all 30 NBA teams, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Friday.
According to the memo, Lillard or his agent, Aaron Goodwin, could face discipline from the league if they made any further comments on exclusively targeting one team for a potential trade.
The memo also warned that other players could be punished in the future if they engaged in similar behavior.
“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,” the memo, obtained by Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report, states.
It added that the NBA conducted interviews with Lillard and Goodwin.
“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.”
The memo also stated that Lillard and Goodwin were encouraged not to make remarks that suggested the NBA star would refuse to “fully perform the services called for under his player contract in the event of a trade.”
“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,” the memo said. “We also have advised the Players Association that any similar comments by players or their agents will be subject to discipline going forward.”
The Heat and the Trail Blazers have yet to come to a formal agreement about a trade for Lillard. The 33-year-old point guard does have multiple years remaining on his contract with the Blazers, which does not include a no-trade clause.
The NBA already has rules in place regarding trade requests being publicly issued. Players or their representatives are permitted to make requests privately.
Lillard has spent his entire 11-year NBA career with the Blazers.