The Damian Lillard trade saga has clouded the Miami Heat throughout the 2023 offseason. There is an ongoing standoff between the Heat and the Portland Trail Blazers with regard to a deal that finally gets Dame Time out of RIP City and into the sunny beaches of the 2022-23 NBA season's runners-up. The Heat won't budge. The Blazers won't budge. Now, a new Eastern Conference rival has entered the fray in the Lillard sweepstakes. It seems like the longer this saga drags out, the less Miami's chances of landing the seven-time All-Star.
Given the situation, it is highly likely that this Heat team will look very different by the time training camp rolls along — granted that Miami and Portland actually and finally strike a deal that works for both sides. Regardless if the Heat land Lillard or not, it seems like Pat Riley is always on the move. The Godfather seems like he always has a rabbit to pull out of the hat.
With that said, it wouldn't be shocking if he ends up still making a trade ahead of training camp in case a Lillard deal doesn't fall through. With that said, here are three potential trade candidates for the Miami Heat as they enter training camp.
1. Tyler Herro
Once the Miami Heat were deeply entrenched into the Damian Lillard sweepstakes, Tyler Herro's name instantly became the centerpiece of all the hypothetical trade packages that would go the Portland Trail Blazers' way. As big of a part Herro is in what Miami does, he unfortunately wasn't part of the Heat's unprecedented run to the 2023 NBA Finals.
Herro suffered a broken hand in the very first game of the 2023 NBA Playoffs and wasn't able to return. As such, many speculate the Heat see him as expendable and could be a main piece they could move to acquire a superstar like Lillard or another veteran star who can consistently help carry the offensive load off Jimmy Butler, who was already running on fumes during the Finals.
Multiple teams have expressed interest in Tyler Herro. These include the Utah Jazz, Chicago Bulls, Brooklyn Nets, and Charlotte Hornets. Regardless if the Lillard trade will be necessary for one of those teams to land Herro, the 23-year-old is a hot commodity among several franchises. This past season, Herro averaged over 20 points per game for the second straight season following the 2021-22 campaign where he earned Sixth Man of the Year.
All those teams listed above are either rebuilding or about to rebuild. Utah and Chicago, in particular, could have some enticing pieces the Heat can consider as alternatives should they be unable to land Lillard.
Another potential trade candidate for Miami is Duncan Robinson.
Robinson could very well be salary filler for any Herro-centric deal for Lillard. Nonetheless, he still offers plenty of value with his elite marksmanship from beyond the arc. More importantly, the 29-year-old also proved that he is the ultimate professional. Robinson had already lost his spot in Erik Spoelstra's regular rotation to Max Strus. But the man stayed ready and when he was called upon during the playoffs following Herro's injury, the sharpshooter contributed in a major way throughout Miami's postseason run and even in the NBA Finals.
After drawing several DNPs throughout the course of the regular season, Robinson became a fixture in the Heat rotation during the playoffs. In 23 games, he averaged 9.0 points in just over 18 minutes per game while shooting 44.2 percent from beyond the arc. This renaissance came after a career-low shooting year where he made just over 32 percent of his looks from beyond the arc.
With his performance in the playoffs, Robinson raised his trade value as someone who could be a reliable sniper off any title or playoff hopeful's bench unit.
3. Kyle Lowry
Kyle Lowry is another possible trade candidate for the Miami Heat.
Lowry could also be an alternate salary filler for any trade that could land the Heat Damian Lillard.
Like Robinson, Lowry lost a bit of his luster during the regular season. The veteran succumbed to a bench role with the emergence of Gabe Vincent, who assumed full-time starting point guard duties by the end of the season. Lowry initially struggled in his new role, but he eventually found his footing come playoff time.
After having one of his more inefficient campaigns over the past decade, the 37-year-old raised his game in the postseason. His 9.2 points per game average during the playoffs may not seem much, but Lowry found a pep in his step once again and became the pest that annoyed most of the Toronto Raptors' opponents throughout the 2010s.