The Damian Lillard trade saga has hit a bit of a roadblock. ESPN’s Marc Spears created quite a buzz a few days ago when he suggested that Damian Lillard could be on his way to the Miami Heat before the start of training camp.
However, today, another prominent ESPN NBA insider, Brian Windhorst, has come forward with a different perspective. Windhorst revealed that, at this moment, there are no ongoing discussions between the Miami Heat and the Portland Trail Blazers regarding a potential Damian Lillard trade. The trade waters appear calm for now.
Brian believes that despite the current hiatus in discussions between the Miami Heat and the Portland Trail Blazers, the Heat still remains a significant contender in acquiring Damian Lillard through a trade. This is due to the prevailing belief that Lillard’s trade is bound to happen at some point during this off season.
Having the opportunity to talk with the great @WindhorstESPN about the Damian Lillard trade situation.
— Christos Tsaltas (@Tsaltas46) September 4, 2023
The Miami Heat appear to be standing firm in their trade negotiations for Damian Lillard, unwilling to concede more than what they’re offering. Lillard, who secured an All-NBA selection for the 2022-23 season, showcased his brilliance with averages of 32.2 points and 7.3 assists per game. He maintained an impressive shooting percentage of 46.3 from the field and 37.1 percent from long-range.
Brian Windhorst’s insights align with a previous report from August, indicating that Portland had no inclination to engage in trade talks with Miami at that time, reaffirming the Blazers’ reluctance.
If the Blazers were to part ways with Lillard, they would likely embark on a rebuilding phase. They have emerging young talents like Scoot Henderson, Shaedon Sharpe, and Anfernee Simons who could form the nucleus of their future endeavors.
In a potential Damian Lillard trade, Miami’s most valuable asset is likely former Sixth Man of the Year Tyler Herro.
However, there’s a hurdle to overcome as the Blazers may hesitate to absorb Herro’s contract, particularly given his position as a guard. Should this be the case, Miami would need to reroute Herro to a third team as part of the Lillard deal.
The Blazers maintain some leverage in this situation since Lillard is under contract beyond the 2023-24 season. Consequently, they have the option to keep Lillard and even have him sit out until a trade offer aligns with their expectations.
Miami made significant moves during the offseason, such as adding guard Josh Richardson to the roster. Nevertheless, they also lost sharpshooter Max Strus and guard Gabe Vincent in free agency.
This has left the Heat with a thinner rotation than they might prefer as the 2023-24 season rapidly approaches. However, their decision not to commit long-term contracts to Strus or Vincent was strategic, as it keeps their options open for a potential Lillard trade, which could have been more complicated otherwise.
While one NBA insider has predicted Lillard’s move to the Heat before training camp, it appears that Miami is currently engaged in a waiting game with the Blazers as the offseason unfolds.