While Tuesday night's game for the Miami Heat against the Portland Trail Blazers seems like any other, there is some storylines intertwined in the contest as a result of a huge move made in the off-season. It's no secret that the Heat were on the verge of obtaining star Damian Lillard before he was dealt to the Milwaukee Bucks as in the possible package were young stars Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Nikola Jovic.

While they weren't the only pieces involved in the possible trade to Portland as other names such as Tyler Herro, Kyle Lowry, and Duncan Robinson were as well, both Jaquez and Jovic could've been the possible future of the Trail Blazers. For the rookie sensation in Jaquez, he acknowledged the trade rumors according to Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel.

“I mean, sometimes it’s hard to ignore rumors, although I kept my focus in Miami,” Jaquez said. “There were obvious possibilities. There’s always going to be possibilities in this job, in this profession. But I’m happy I’m here.”

Jaquez thought of potential fit with Portland

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) drives to the hoop between Miami Heat forward Nikola Jovic (5) and forward Jaime Jaquez Jr. (11) in the fourth quarter at the Chase Center.
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Portland would end up sending Lillard to Milwaukee in a three-team trade that included the Phoenix Suns. The Trail Blazers ended up getting Deandre Ayton, Toumani Camara, Jrue Holiday (now with the Boston Celtics), a 2029 first round pick, and two first-round pick swaps with the Bucks. Jaquez did consider at one point being with the Trail Blazers, but said he “kept his focus on Miami.”

“I mean, I think everybody would be lying if they said they didn’t,” Jaquez said. “You think of different opportunities, different situations. You’ve got to be prepared; you’ve got to be ready. But at the same time, I kept my focus on Miami. This is where I was. I wasn’t really looking at going anywhere else until anything happened.”

Jovic said trade rumors crossed his mind

As for 2022 first round pick Nikola Jovic, he is a talented player at the age of 20-years old that is seemingly to continue developing by the year. He said that while he didn't think “a lot about it,” it definitely crossed his mind.

“You see a lot of things,” Jovic said. “I’m not going to say I was thinking a lot about it, but of course it crosses your mind.”

Jovic was suspended along with Jimmy Butler and Thomas Bryant for being involved in an altercation in last Friday's win against the New Orleans Pelicans. He will make his return Tuesday night for the Heat against the Trail Blazers as he mentioned himself and Jaquez “were not the biggest pieces in that trade.”

“But it’s not like I have anything against Portland,” Jovic said. “Of course, you think about that they’re in a rebuild mode and you think about it if you’re going to play or not. Me and Jaime were not the biggest pieces in the trade, but of course you think if you’re going to be in a package.”

Jaquez, Jovic on winning being the factor to faster development

It has been said by Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra a bevy of times that besides talent, a sure-fire way to develop a player is to win. Jaquez agrees with that and pondered if it would have been worth it for him to have huge numbers with Portland or have an impact on winning with Miami as they are 32-25.

“I agree 100 percent,” Jaquez said via The Sun Sentinel. “I think that’s the most important thing, is learning how to win, and taking that very seriously.I think he makes a great point of do you want double numbers, or do you want numbers that impact winning? And I’m always going to take the numbers that impact winning, no matter what that is.”

While Jaquez has been impactful right out of the gate, it has been a slower process for Jovic who was selected with the 27th pick in the 2022 draft out of Serbia by Miami. However, he has shown improvement this season in the time played and said he has “learned a lot about winning.”

“Of course, you can see here, even at this point I’ve learned a lot about winning,” Jovic said. “Just being around this whole organization, especially with a coach like Spo, every day, the only thing he talks about is winning and impacting winning. And that’s what I’m trying to do. I’ve always said it, if I can impact winning here, I can impact winning any place else.”