Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers has recently drawn the ire of the NBA itself after it was reported that he desired to be traded. He doesn’t want to be traded to any team, however, but the Miami Heat. Unsurprisingly, this has caught quite a bit of attention.
In case you aren’t familiar, players are not supposed to express their desire to be traded to specific teams. Any players who do so will be swiftly shut down by the NBA, which it has every right to as per the Collective Bargaining Agreement as of July 2023. According to the agreement, any player “who publicly expresses a desire to be traded to another Team shall be subject to a fine and/or a suspension. The maximum fine that may be imposed by the NBA on a player pursuant to the foregoing shall be $150,000.”
Needless to say, they aren’t messing around. The NBA sent a memo out to the 30 teams saying that it had interviewed Damian Lillard and his agent, Aaron Goodwin. Goodwin himself had reportedly been talking to teams and warning them “against trading for Lillard because Lillard’s only desired trade destination is Miami.” Furthermore, he reportedly indicated that Lillard “would not fully perform the services called for under his player contract if traded to another team.” Goodwin denied these accusations, saying that Lillard would still play for other teams. The league had interviewed other teams, who backed up most (but not entirely) of Goodwin’s descriptions of the conversations.
They were warned of any further comments, even in private, about refusing to play or fully living up to the performance his player contract demands. Further undesirable behavior could spur on disciplinary action. In fact, it’s reported that if Lillard is indeed traded to Miami Heat, the NBA could “veto” the trade.