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RUMOR ROUNDUP: Damian Lillard moves still up in the air as Summer League begins

Anything going on? Not at the moment but the way free agency works, that status report could change by the time you finish reading this story! If not, it means that the annual convention of league GMs, also known as the NBA Summer League, is still wrangling over a certain combo guard from Portland.

At this point, Friday afternoon, there’s plenty of rumors on the Damian Lillard front but precious little hard information. Lillard’s agent has reportedly told teams other than the Heat not to even think about going after his client. Per Mark Medina of Sportsnaut...

“He just wouldn’t go,” a person familiar with Lillard’s thinking told Sportsnaut. “He just wouldn’t report.”

The person stressed that the Damian Lillard is “not a disruptor” and wants to honor his contract in the 2023-24 season. But even if he doesn’t have a no-trade clause after agreeing to a two-year, $122 million extension that keeps him under contract through the 2026-27 season, Lillard has hoped for the Blazers to accommodate his trade request out of respect for both his resume and for his contributions to the Blazers’ franchise.

“I don’t think the other team would trade for him knowing that he doesn’t want to be there,” the person familiar with Lillard’s thinking told Sportsnaut. “He’s a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer so they should respect his wishes.”

Meanwhile, Joe Cronin, the Blazers GM, had said he will not limit his trade talks to South Beach, that he needs to get the best deal for his franchise, no matter where that might ake Lillard. As Adrian Wojnarowski wrote Thursday, the standard was set in the trades that sent Kevin Durant and Bradley Beal to Phoenix, Anthony Davis to L.A.

Portland will want a blend of picks and young building blocks like the Brooklyn Nets and New Orleans Pelicans got for the Durant and Davis trades: Mikal Bridges and Cam Johnson to Brooklyn, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball to New Orleans.

Woj, who has not linked the Nets to Lillard, did suggest that the Jazz might be interested in sending Lauri Markkanen and multiple first round picks — they have a number of them — to Portland in a simple deal.

Where does that leave the Nets? The rumors that had the Nets being a potential destination have quieted but the other rumor, that the Nets would serve as the third team, the primary facilitator who would give up the first rounders Miami needs to entice Portland to give up Lillard and get back a player, presumably Tyler Herro.

In fact, both Brian Windhorst on his Hoop Collective, and Howard Beck both reported in the last 48 hours that the Nets are interested.

“It’s been reported that the Nets would have interest in Herro, and I have heard that as well,” said Windhorst said in a less-than-definitive statement. “They offloaded three contracts in the last few days… They’re actually a candidate to make a trade where they bring in more salary than they send out.”

Beck was similarly vague on the Locked on Nets podcast Thursday.

“There’s an opportunistic element to this here, right?” he told Adam Armbrecht. “Okay we don’t want to be all-in on Damian Lillard. We don’t think it’s right thing for us at this stage. We’re going to do a more methodical approach here... and maybe there’s a little bit of PTSD here for this organization.

“So, Tyler Herro, picking him up as a third party in that deal. I’ve heard they do have some interest and I do think he makes some sense.”

But there are no indications, at least not yet, that the Nets want to give up any more of their draft capital — they sent out three seconds rounders to facilitate the salary dumps of Joe Harris and Patty Mills. Moreover, Herro’s four-year, $120 million contract which starts this season would complicate other big decisions down the road, like re-signing Nic Claxton to a presumably huge deal a year from now, or wooing a big free agent in 2025. Not to mention retaining flexibility during the interim. The Nets are in the repeater tax because of the money they spent in the ill-fated experiment that was the Big Three and because they took on Ben Simmons contract. Under the new CBA, the issue is not money. It’s being able to do anything complicated.

Would the Nets be willing to act as the third party if the price in draft picks was less than the rumored two or three firsts and if they could take back something less onerous than Herro’s contract?

Ethan J. Skolnick, the Miami-based reporter for Bleacher Report, hinted that the Nets might be interested in Caleb Martin but didn’t link the interest specifically to the ongoing Lillard negotiations. Martin, who played a big role in the Heat’s run to the NBA Finals is a 27-year-old wing (who isn’t?) who is in year 2 of a three-year, $20 million deal.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports said Friday that the Nets or the Pistons will most likely fill the facilitator role.

“At the end of the day, if they’re able to get something done where Miami gets Dame and Portland gets (stuff) from wherever, whether it’s a few from Miami, some from Brooklyn and another team, possibly Detroit,” he said on the This League podcast with Marc Stein.

Meanwhile, there’s the intriguing mystery of why Edmond Sumner and the Nets agreed to postpone for nine days the guarantee date for the 6’6” wing’s second year. The Nets were supposed to decide by Thursday on the $2.2 million team option. Now, the option date is July 16.

It would seem that the Nets want some time to finish something else up before having to make a decision on Sumner who after the Nets signed Lonnie Walker IV would seem superfluous.

When they sign their two first round picks in the next few days, Brooklyn will have 14 players — including Sumner — under contract, which gives them a little maneuvering room. They’re currently under the tax threshold but over the cap. Also, Nets signed Jalen Wilson, their second round pick, to a two-way deal two days ago. Under the new CBA, NBA teams can sign three two-ways and they already have one two-way, RaiQuan Gray under contract.