Damian Lillard has been the main talking point of the NBA offseason as there is genuine belief that he could finally request a trade from the Portland Trail Blazers. Well, that is according to the Miami Heat.
The Heat have made Lillard their primary focus for the 2023 NBA offseason. It is all or nothing. There’s no sugarcoating it. Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, and Miami’s front office all want to see the 32-year-old point guard in a Heat uniform for years to come.
The organization is coming off a disappointing loss against the Denver Nuggets in the NBA Finals and wants to return for the sole purpose of coming home with the trophy. It was a successful season for the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference but they want more.
Butler didn’t even want to hold the Eastern Conference finals trophy as the NBA Finals hardware represents the primary goal. This is where Lillard could etch his name in Heat history as a player who finally put the organization on the pedestal.
Lillard’s loyalty to the organization that he has provided his blood, sweat, and tears for is strong but could the allure of Miami be too strong to pass up?
Damian Lillard has ‘serious interest’ in joining the Miami Heat
Lillard wanted to see what Portland decided to do with the No. 3 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft as he does not want to be a part of a rebuilding situation. Well, the Trail Blazers did what everyone expected and it was the right decision.
Instead of trading the No. 3 pick for a veteran player, the organization picked Scoot Henderson. It wasn’t surprising at all as Henderson has the potential to change the trajectory of any NBA organization.
The Trail Blazers would be better off embracing the youth movement now. They could have received an incredible package for Henderson to appease Lillard; however, the road of acquiring veterans to keep him in a Trail Blazers uniform is becoming more narrow by the day.
It makes sense for all parties to move on from this partnership with Portland embracing a life of youth and Lillard pursuing the chance at an illustrious NBA championship. This is where Miami comes into play.
According to The Athletic’s Sam Amick, Lillard has “serious interest” in joining the Heat if he were to request a trade from the Trail Blazers. The All-Star point guard’s wishes would also be very important due to the size of his contract.
It has been well-established that both Lillard and the Heat have interest in joining forces. Based on a recent report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, it seems like it could become reality since he believes the Trail Blazers won’t be championship contenders next season.
The Heat will be contenders and with Lillard, they would be the favorites to win it all. Butler, Adebayo, and Lillard would be one of the best “Big 3s” since LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh.
It’s truly a perfect combination on both sides of the floor; however, what would a possible trade for Lillard look like for the Heat if he finally requests a trade from Portland? It could go one of two ways and Miami is hoping it goes the way of Lillard saying “Miami and Miami only.”
Evaluating a potential Miami Heat trade package for Damian Lillard
If Lillard requests a trade from the Trail Blazers, the Heat are expected to be near or at the top of the list. Despite the point guard’s comments about the Brooklyn Nets a few weeks ago, there hasn’t been as much chatter as Miami.
The Heat have always been involved in the conversations with Lillard as he has a close relationship with Adebayo after the Tokoyo 2020 Summer Olympics. The relationship might be why the Trail Blazers were rumored to pursue a trade for Adebayo. Miami laughed off that request.
With no possibility that Adebayo goes to Portland, what would be a suitable package for Lillard that would allow the two of them to join forces? It all depends on what Portland’s superstar says to his current front office.
If Lillard prefers Miami but is open to the possibility of Brooklyn, a package centered around Tyler Herro, Duncan Robinson, Nikola Jovic, Jaime Jaquez Jr., and picks might be enough for Portland. It depends on if the Trail Blazers have leverage or not.
If not, the Heat could find a way to include Kyle Lowry so Portland can shed some salary with his expiring contract after the 2023-’24 season. As said above, it truly depends on what Lillard says to the Trail Blazers. That is why Miami is hoping that he pushes for South Florida.
It would allow the Heat to give up less assets as Lillard’s contract limits where he would go for his next team. The Oakland native doesn’t have a no-trade clasue like Bradley Beal; however, a location that isn’t one of his primary targets could bring trouble down the road.
The next step for Miami is very clear. There should be a heavy emphasis on acquiring Lillard since the organization is OK with running it back for another season. Sure, it would be great to acquire a third star but the Heat may have enough with some smaller moves.
This will be a waiting game for Miami. It is one the organization is willing to play if it means trading for one of the best players in the league today. Lillard has the control and the landscape of the NBA can change really quickly if he decides it’s over in Portland.