Lillard has been very outspoken about his issues with the Portland Trail Blazers, and following Adebayo’s comments about their growing friendship, rumors of the six-time All-Star possibly landing in Miami spiked. Adebayo said he’s “in his ear,” which sounds a lot like a recruiting effort.
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“Definitely just being around them, seeing their work ethic, seeing how they go about their professional business, and seeing what I can do differently,” Adebayo said of what he’s learned from Lillard and Kevin Durant, as reported by the Miami Herald.
“Getting to talk to him and getting that chemistry with is Dame, just because I play center, he plays point guard,” Adebayo continued. “So it’s kind of we’ve got to build a connection in the pick and roll. But just being in his ear and seeing how he thinks that game.”
True Hoop‘s Henry Abbott reported, “Watching Giannis win the Finals, and playing on Team USA with Bam Adebayo, sources say Damian Lillard is as excited as ever about the idea of playing with a super-athletic and mobile big man.”
The Heat’s Chances to Obtain Lillard Keep Escalating
According to Yahoo! Sports Chris Haynes, “The enormous backlash from the Portland Trail Blazers’ process to hire a new coach and his concerns on whether a championship contender can be built have become factors that may push the franchise player — Damian Lillard — out the door, league sources told Yahoo Sports.”
If Lillard is looking for a stable franchise, there are few other teams that offer reliable leaders like Heat president Pat Riley and head coach Erik Spoelstra.
Prior to Haynes’ report, Odds Shark gave the Miami Heat the third-best odds of obtaining Lillard, just behind the Philadelphia 76ers and the New York Knicks.
Lillard, who’s entering the first season of the four-year $176 million contract extension with Portland, addressed the rumors of him possibly leaving Portland on July 29:
I’ve been as open about the situation as I can possibly be. And things have continually come out, ‘Oh, Dame said he’s 75-25,’ and, ‘Dame is excited about this,’ and, ‘Dame is going to give back money.’ I’ve seen everything and I have not said any of those things. I’ve spoke directly to my team. My team knows the truth.
ESPN Linked Lillard to the Heat After Portland was Eliminated in Round 1 of the NBA Playoffs
After Lillard’s record-breaking 55-point performance in Game 5 wasn’t enough to nab a win in double overtime, Portland was officially eliminated from the 2020-21 NBA playoffs after losing Game 6 to the Denver Nuggets. Following the disappointing first-round exit, Lillard’s post-game comments created quite a stir.
The 30-year-old guard, who averaged 34.3 points and 10.2 assists per game versus Denver, called out the franchise for their shortcomings.
“I don’t know what a shakeup looks like or what changes will be made or could be made, but obviously as is, it wasn’t good enough,” Lillard said. “We came up short against a team without their starting point guard and shooting guard (Will Barton and Jamal Murray)…. Obviously, where we are isn’t good enough to win a championship if it’s not good enough to get out of a first-round series with two of their best three or four players not on the floor.”
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith mentioned the Heat by name as one of “six or seven teams” that have put calls into the Portland front office about Lillard:
Several calls have come their way. You got a lot of teams, about six or seven different teams, that think they can get their hands on him. They think they got a shot. One of them includes the Knicks which is scheduled to have about $75 million in cap room space along with some picks. But also the Clippers, the Miami Heat, and who knows what the Lakers might try to do. Stay tuned.