Stephen A. Smith said on First Take today that “six or seven teams” believe that they could trade for Damian Lillard, the Portland Trail-Blazers superstar who has lost in the first round the last two years. Smith mentioned the Miami Heat as one of those teams.
The 6-foot-2 guard, who will turn 31 years old next month, stoked rumors of a possible departure with an Instagram post and caption that appeared to reference Portland’s inability to provide Lillard with a strong supporting cast.
Lillard would fit in the role that the Heat envisioned Bradley Beal taking before he signed an extension with the Washington Wizards in 2019. He’d instantly become the No. 1 offensive option for Miami and allow Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo to serve as the defensive anchors and second and third options, respectively.
The issue, of course, becomes the Heat’s lack of draft assets to trade. The Oklahoma City Thunder own Miami’s 2021 and 2023 first-round picks, and NBA rules prevent teams from trading picks in consecutive seasons. Because the 2023 pick is lottery-protected, the Heat and Thunder would need to remove protections from the pick for Miami to offer their 2025 first-round pick.
Tyler Herro immediately goes out the door in a Lillard trade. Portland would also ask the Heat to execute a sign-and-trade to send Duncan Robinson to the Blazers as well. We also have to see what other teams offer. If the Philadelphia 76ers have another disappointing finish, will Daryl Morey put Ben Simmons on the trade block? Could anything trump that offer?