Heat Named Top Trade Partner for 2023 All-Star After Losing Out on Damian Lillard

Jimmy Butler

Getty Jimmy Butler of the Miami Heat talks to Jrue Holiday.

The Miami Heat came up short in its quest to trade for Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard. Does this mean the Heat could turn its attention to a player like Jrue Holiday?

Multiple analysts think so.

After months of rumors and back-and-forth involving Miami as Lillard’s primary suitor, the Blazers and their general manager Joe Cronin sent Lillard to the Milwaukee Bucks in exchange for Holiday, Deandre Ayton and Toumani Camara. The Phoenix Suns were also involved in the three-team trade, adding Jusuf Nurkic, Grayson Allen, Nassir Little and Keon Johnson as part of the deal.

After the trade, insider Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that the Blazers were “gonna move pretty quickly” and trade Holiday to another team. Could he head to South Beach?

Heat Named Trade Partner for Jrue Holiday

Holiday, 33, has averaged 16.4 points, 6.5 assists and 4.1 rebounds while hitting 36.6% of his 3-point attempts over his 14-year career. He’s coming off an All-Star campaign with the Bucks last season that saw him score a career-high 19.3 points, while also handing out 7.4 assists and hauling in 5.1 rebounds, another career best.

The Heat have been looking for a point guard for a while now, with aging veteran Kyle Lowry and the 23-year-old sharp shooter Tyler Herro the frontrunners to lead the offense if no move is made. Considering Holiday’s potential availability, several analysts think Miami could be a logical trade partner.

“I’m sure the Heat don’t want to hear this right now, but think of landing Holiday as a nice consolation prize? He’s not the offensive stick of dynamite that Lillard is, but imagine a defensive backcourt of Holiday and Jimmy Butler. That truly sounds terrifying for opposing teams,” Jasmyn Wimbish of CBS Sports wrote on September 28, adding:

“While the Heat clearly didn’t have the assets Portland wanted to land Lillard, they surely have enough to bring in Holiday, the only thing is are the two sides willing to do business? It has to be pretty disheartening for Miami after seeing what Milwaukee got Lillard for, as the Heat definitely had a better offer than the Bucks.”

ClutchPoints also proposed a Holdiay-to-Heat trade that would send Holiday and Matisse Thybulle to Miami in exchange for Duncan Robinson, Lowry, Nikola Jovic and a 2028 1st round pick, while USA Today also named Miami as one of four teams likely to pursue Holiday.

There’s just one problem, though: Things may have soured between the Blazers and Heat during negotiations for Lillard.

Could Joe Cronin Be Major Deterrent for Heat?

Lillard, who initially requested to be traded to Miami only, obviously did not get his wish, and there has been talk of Cronin making the Heat’s pursuit of Dame ridiculously complicated.

“Portland is refusing to talk to Miami,” NBA insider Chris Haynes said about negotiations between the two teams on the September 22 episode of the D-Lo & KC Show. “Miami understands that they don’t have the assets. But they want to know, ‘Hey Portland, we’ll involve a third or fourth team but communicate with us and let us know what you are looking for.’ It hasn’t gotten to that stage.”

There’s little doubt Holiday would help the Heat, particularly if unloading Lowry is an option, but based on the Heat’s inability to get anything done with Cronin regarding Lillard, it’s doubtful Miami will pick up the phone to call him about Holiday anytime soon.


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