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NBA execs expect Miami Heat to land Damian Lillard

Leading up to the 2023 NBA Draft, and even since it’s ended, there’s been a lot of speculation about Damian Lillard in trade rumors. The Portland Trail Blazers reportedly had a chance to swing a deal that would have made Lillard happy enough to stick around for a 12th season on the West Coast but evidently opted for a youth movement instead.

So now it appears the eventual outcome will lead to a Lillard trade, especially since he actually requested a move following 11 years of loyalty. Reports say Lillard wants a trade, but only to the Miami Heat, as he seeks a strong chance to compete for what could be his first NBA championship.

Yet, the Blazers aren’t exactly pleased with what the Heat can exclusively offer. But if Portland hopes to drag out the process long enough that Lillard becomes convinced their young core can win, they may face their star refusing to report to training camp.

It’s become fairly clear that Lillard wants to play for a team who can win now and not have to wait for young talent to become more consistent. Yet, the Blazers aren’t just going to give their face of the franchise away, even if Scoot Henderson can quickly grab that title instead.

While the Blazers continue to hold out hope for a mega-offer from any team, not just the Heat, there’s a sense that Lillard is bound to end up in Miami no matter what. Here’s what The Athletic’s Jon Krawczynski shared on Saturday:

“The scuttlebutt out here, it seems to be when you talk to, you know, I’ve talked to a bunch of agents have talked to several executives with other teams, and it’s what everyone is talking about. And there just seems to be an overall belief that eventually at some point, Miami will find a way to get the pieces together to get Damian Lillard there.”

Jon Krawczynski on Damian Lillard

As Jon K. alluded to, the key to making a deal come together could rely on other teams getting involved. If the Blazers don’t like who/what the Heat have to offer, perhaps another team has some spare parts they’re willing to exchange instead. While we may not know how or when Lillard will touch down in Miami, all signs point to the Heat adding a third All-Star this summer.

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