Stephen A. Smith: Heat Have Inquired About Damian Lillardby Jacari McRae June 6, 2021 0 comments
After a disappointing finish to their season, the Portland Trail-Blazers are back at the drawing board, with questions about their roster and potential coaching changes.
This is the second consecutive season the Blazers have lost in the first round. Following their 126-115 loss to the Denver Nuggets, Blazers’ All-Star guard Damian Lillard had an interesting Instagram post. Lillard posted a picture of himself walking in the arena hallways with a quote from the late rapper Nipsey Hussle’s song Dedication:
Throughout his career, Lillard has made it known he would love to stay with Portland long-term. But, reading Lillard’s post makes you wonder if the 30-year guard is finally open to changing teams. If so, organizations are already prepared to make a push for him. According to ESPN First Take‘s Stephen A Smith, Miami is one of several teams who believe they have a shot at acquiring him. Smith also mentions that Miami has already inquired about the all-star guard.
“You’ve got a lot of teams, about six or seven teams believe they can get their hands on (Lillard), they’ve got a shot,” Smith said. “One of them is the Knicks, who’s scheduled to have about $75 million in cap space, along with some picks. But also the Clippers, the Miami Heat and who knows what the Lakers may try to do.”
— Greg Sylvander (@GregSylvander) June 4, 2021
Lillard is definitely a player Miami needs to be targeting. He comes off another great season, averaging 28.1 points while shooting 39.1 percent from the three-point range. Miami’s first-round loss against the Milwaukee Bucks showed the importance of having an elite go-to scorer, particularly with Jimmy Butler struggling and Bam Adebayo playing passive. Lillard would instantly become the Heat’s number one option while allowing Butler and Bam to become the second and third options.
Miami’s Potential Offer
The path to acquiring Lillard will be very difficult. Anyone outside of Butler and Adebayo would have to be available in a potential trade with Portland. Tyler Herro will most likely be involved, and Duncan Robinson could be involved in a sign-and-trade. They would also add cap fillers such as Goran Dragic to make the salaries work.
Unfortunately, Miami is short on draft assets and will have to get creative with their potential offer. The Oklahoma City Thunder own Miami’s 2021 and 2023 first-round picks, and the NBA prevents teams from trading picks in consecutive seasons. Since the 2023 pick is lottery-protected, Miami and Oklahoma City would need to unprotect the pick for Miami to trade their 2025 first-round pick. Will that be enough? Probably not.
For now, this is all just speculation. Lillard has not publicly indicated he wants to be traded. The Blazers have not entertained the idea of trading him, either. This will be something to monitor as the months go by.
Follow Jacari McRae on Twitter @JMcRae23
Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images