Will it happen, or won’t it? That’s the question fans of the Miami Heat have been asking all summer in reference to whether the team will finally land Portland Trail Blazers starting point guard Damian Lillard.
After Lillard asked to be traded and specifically requested the Heat as his lone desired destination, there have been a slew of rumors and trade ideas from fans and analysts alike as to what it might take to make a trade happen.
Some trade proposals even have Miami sending — in addition to numerous first- and second-round draft picks — loads of key players, including the likes of Tyler Herro, Kyle Lowry and/or Duncan Robinson, Caleb Martin and either one or both Nikola Jovic and Jaime Jaquez Jr. While it’ll likely take a multi-team deal to pry Lillard away from Portland, it would be stunning if Miami were to give up that much.
Team insider Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel broke down exactly why the Heat “are not giving up all of that.”
Heat Have Loads to Offer in Potential Trade Packages
“The reasons you make trades are twofold,” Winderman wrote. “The first reason is to upgrade your core in a win-now setting. The other is to set up your future. With Jimmy Butler to turn 34 before the start of the coming season, the Heat are in that first, win-now category. So you start here: To win right now, is Damian Lillard an upgrade on Tyler Herro for the 2023-24 season? I believe most would agree. Then you look at having to shed other pieces and the impact on your core.”
Winderman then referenced the Heat’s 2023 playoff run, which ended with a loss in the finals to the Denver Nuggets. Miami went as far as a No. 8 seed has ever gone, and it did it without huge contributions from certain players.
“The Heat have already shown they can win without Duncan Robinson, albeit a Max Strus replacement would be needed out of the developmental program. And it’s not as if Nikola Jovic is weeks, months or even a season away from being a rotation player for a championship contender,” Winderman added.
“So part with those four plus a pick or two (or three) and you basically have done little to damage your core. Now, when you get to Caleb Martin or a ready-now Jaime Jaquez Jr., that is when you would take pause. So you can give up a lot. What you can’t give up is too much.”
Next Heat Offer for Dame Will Be Significant, not Ridiculous
So, what could Miami’s next offer for Lillard look like?
According to NBA insider Shams Charania of The Athletic, “ever since early July, sources involved in discussions who are unauthorized to speak on the matter said the Heat have been prepared to offer the Trail Blazers a package including three to four first-round picks — with Tyler Herro going to a third team for assets — expiring contracts, a young player such as Nikola Jović and potentially second-round picks and draft swaps.”
Over his 769 career games (all of which have been starts), Lillard has averaged 25.2 points, 6.7 assists and 4.2 rebounds. Despite being 33, Dame is coming off one of the best seasons of his career, finishing with averages of 32.2 points, 7.3 assists and 4.8 rebounds in 58 games (36.3 minutes a game). He’s clearly one of the league’s top players, but don’t expect Miami to make a lateral trade — or one that could make the team worse.