The Portland Trail Blazers' general manager, Joe Cronin, hinted on Monday that finalizing a trade deal involving star player Damian Lillard could potentially extend over several months. Such a measured approach aims to fulfill the franchise's principal objective: securing the best possible outcome for the team.
Playing the Long Game
Cronin, speaking at a news conference held at Thomas & Mack Center, underlined the importance of patience in the entire process. "I think what I've learned more than anything is patience is critical," he emphasized.
Cronin warned against impulsive decisions driven by the need for quick fixes. Instead, he advocated for a deliberate, thoughtful approach, similar to the strategies adopted by teams that emerged from trade deals with a significant advantage.
"We're going to be patient; we're going to do what's best for our team. We're going to see how this lands. And if it takes months, it takes months," Cronin asserted, clearly laying out his game plan for the upcoming negotiations.
Best Interests vs. Win-Now Opportunities
Over the years, building around Damian Lillard, affectionately known as "Dame," has been the core strategy of the Blazers. However, the challenge has always been finding the right deals that would complement and augment Lillard's formidable talent.
Reflecting on the franchise's decisions in recent drafts, Cronin explained, "The difficult things we ran into were finding the right deals. In the previous two years, we drafted at 7, then we drafted at 3. Each time we just tried to weigh that." The franchise's prime motive during these drafts was to scout for win-now players that would provide an immediate boost to the team's performance.
However, according to Cronin, those players were elusive. The general manager continued, "What does Pick 3 look like versus the return to the market? It wasn't close. Had to go [making the pick]." The absence of win-now opportunities might be one of the reasons Lillard is reportedly eyeing a move away from the Blazers.
Cronin expressed his understanding of Lillard's stance, saying, "So from that regard, I mean, I understand his position and I respect it, and it makes sense to me why he would look to go elsewhere."
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