For all the rumors that the Miami Heat would be the eventual landing spot of Damian Lillard, the superstar guard ended up getting sent by the Portland Trail Blazers to one of the Heat's chief rivals in the Eastern Conference, the Milwaukee Bucks. Another East contender in the Boston Celtics also shored up their backcourt with the recent addition of Jrue Holiday via a trade with the Blazers.
As for the Heat, they have been silent on the trade front this offseason. However, it doesn't seem head coach Erik Spoelstra is too bothered by the Celtics and the Bucks making guard upgrades (h/t Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel).
Of the Eastern Conference getting stronger, with the Milwaukee Bucks adding Damian Lillard and the Boston Celtics adding Jrue Holiday, Spoelstra said, “All of that remains to be seen.”
Spoelstra still has full confidence in the Heat being a legitimate title contender again in the coming 2023-24 NBA season.
“You want to come into camp knowing you have one of those teams that can compete for a championship, and we have one of those teams,” Spoelstra shared.
The Bucks and the Celtics were the two biggest victims of the Heat in the last playoffs. Miami sent the Bucks packing for an early vacation in the first round, while the Celtics were eliminated by Jimmy Butler and company in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Even though they got dominated in the 2023 NBA Finals by the Denver Nuggets, the Heat's series wins versus the Bucks and the Celtics serve as reminders to anyone not to take Miami out of the equation.