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Miami Heat Insider Highlights Potential Complications in Pursuing Both Damian Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo in Trade Deals

Throughout the offseason, the Miami Heat have actively been trying to acquire Damian Lillard. However, with recent reports suggesting that Giannis Antetokounmpo might consider leaving the Milwaukee Bucks, an insider suggests that the Heat might reconsider their plans and evaluate different possibilities.

“Opting to acquire Lillard could involve parting ways with Tyler Herro, who coincidentally hails from the Milwaukee region and could potentially be considered for a trade involving Antetokounmpo (admittedly, there’s a fair amount of speculation here),” stated Ira Winderman. “Securing Lillard might also necessitate the Heat giving up future first-round draft picks and promising young players, which could alternatively be used in a trade for Antetokounmpo.”

Herro has consistently been the main player that the Heat are keen on including in a trade for Damian Lillard, whether that’s in a direct trade with the Portland Trail Blazers or as part of a multi-team arrangement. However, if the 23-year-old Herro holds an attraction for his hometown team, he could become the crucial factor in acquiring Antetokounmpo instead.

Miami Heat Insider Highlights Potential Complications in Pursuing Both Damian Lillard and Giannis Antetokounmpo in Trade Deals
Giannis and Herro/Bucks-Miami

There’s growing speculation that the two-time NBA MVP is considering leaving the Milwaukee Bucks, particularly given the upcoming opportunity to extend his contract with them. In the following month, the 28-year-old will be eligible to prolong his existing contract, which encompasses the 2024-25 season along with a player option for the 2025-26 season.

However, the superstar has informed the New York Times that he won’t consider a contract extension until he is convinced of the Bucks’ dedication to pursuing another championship. The Bucks clinched the 2021 NBA title, with Antetokounmpo earning the Finals MVP honor.

Even the faintest suggestion that one of the top players in the NBA might potentially be on the market has sparked widespread speculation within the league. This is despite his previous statements expressing a desire to remain with a single team for the entirety of his career.

“Perhaps next summer would be a more logical timing for both sides. However, even at that point, I’m uncertain,” remarked Antetokounmpo. “I wouldn’t be true to my best self if I’m not certain that everyone is aligned, aiming for a championship, and willing to put in the same level of dedication and sacrifice away from their families, just as I do. If that assurance is absent, I won’t commit to signing.”

Interestingly, the Miami Heat surprised the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in the 2023 playoffs en route to the NBA Finals, though they lost to the Denver Nuggets. Subsequently, Damian Lillard expressed his wish to be traded from Portland, specifically aiming for Miami. It was believed that uniting Lillard with Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo would sustain the Heat’s championship contention.

Nevertheless, discussions with the Trail Blazers have stalled and show no signs of revival. Miami is reportedly ready to present multiple first-round picks — while involving Tyler Herro in a trade with another team for assets — alongside expiring contracts, a young player, and potentially second-round picks and draft swaps.

However, Portland has thus far demonstrated “no interest” in dealing with Miami. This scenario could change swiftly if the Trail Blazers fear the Heat’s shift towards pursuing Antetokounmpo.

Recently, Lillard confirmed his trade request, with an insider detailing Miami’s appeal to the 33-year-old. Yet, it’s conceivable that the younger and more accomplished Antetokounmpo could capture the Heat’s interest more than Lillard does.

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