Damian Lillard has made headlines recently with polarizing comments made regarding his future with the Portland Trail Blazers. Following said remarks, news broke that the organization has shelved the point guard for the rest of the season with a calf injury. The trade rumor mill has been rapidly churning as of late, with the superstar found trapped within its spin. Should he be shopped this offseason, one league executive believes that the Miami Heat could strike a deal to land him by means of a blockbuster.
Heavy Sports’ NBA insider Sean Deveney recently penned a piece highlighting conversations he held with several front-office personalities across the association regarding Damian Lillard and his current situation in Portland. In the article, he noted a plethora of proposed hypothetical trade scenarios involving the veteran heading out of Oregon.
One, in particular, was constructed by an anonymous Eastern Conference executive that would send the perennial All-Star down to South Beach.
The deal outlined reads as follows:
Miami Heat receive:
- Damian Lillard
Portland Trail Blazers receive:
- Tyler Herro
- Duncan Robinson
- Nikola Jovic
- Two future first-rounders
Considering the type of high-end talent that Damian Lillard is, executing a trade for his services is bound to cost a pretty penny. For a win-now team like the Miami Heat, however, the executive believes that, even if it costs prized fourth-year combo guard Tyler Herro, they could be willing to strike on a deal.
“It would have to start with Tyler Herro, once his extension kicks in, you can send him to Portland. Then it is a matter of, can they include Kyle Lowry? Duncan Robinson? Portland would have to take back a bad contract to make it work. So then, how much draft capital is Miami willing to give up? They owe a pick (2025 first-rounder) to OKC, so they can only give up a couple picks, and they could include (Nikola) Jovic. They’d have to put everything into the now and there’s a chance they’re going to be willing to do that,” the Eastern Conference exec said, as transcribed by Deveney.
The idea of a new-age “Big Three” in Miami consisting of Damian Lillard, Jimmy Butler, and Bam Adebayo could prove to be enough to send shivers down the rest of the league’s spine. While the Heat tried their hand at constructing a star trio consisting of the latter two and Kyle Lowry, now in year two, it’s rather evident that said experiment has failed to live up to expectations.
With this core, the club currently slots into the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference standings and looks to be en route to participating in the 2023 play-in tournament.
Despite Portland’s underwhelming 2022-23 campaign, Lillard still once again found himself absolutely shining.
2nd-most 3PM in a game in NBA history (13)
8th player to score 70+ PTS in a single game (71)
The first player in NBA history with 70+ PTS, 5+ REB, 5+ AST and 10+ 3PM in a single game…
What a night for Damian Lillard 🔥 pic.twitter.com/8MMHxePNUu
— NBA (@NBA) February 27, 2023
Through 57 games played during his year-11 season, the seven-time All-Star went on to post sensational per-game averages of 32.2 points, 7.3 assists, and 4.8 rebounds while shooting 46.3% shooting from the floor and 37.1% shooting from distance.
Adding this level of production to a team already consisting of two perennial All-Stars in Butler and Adebayo could be enough to get the Heat back to being considered a legitimate title contender. Depending on who would be within the rotation alongside them, at least on paper, Miami being led by this core group could rival any other team from a top-tier talent perspective in the entire league.