According to Jackson, the Trail Blazers‘ front office is currently on vacation and has shown no inclination to comply with Lillard’s trade request to the Heat. That said, Lillard remains focused on landing in Miami and doesn’t plan expand his list to include additional teams, a person with knowledge of the situation tells Jackson.
Jackson believes the Blazers may have spurred the league to investigate Lillard’s request and the comments made by his agent (Aaron Goodwin) in order to drum up trade interest, hence the NBA’s memo on Friday. Since Lillard and Goodwin told the league the star guard would fulfill his contract and play for any team that trades for him, the Heat will have to hope rival teams don’t decide to make “legitimate trade offers” for the 33-year-old, Jackson observes (Twitter links).
If Portland decides to wait until midseason to move Lillard, that could work against the Heat, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel. As Winderman notes, the Nets received far more in return for Kevin Durant at the February trade deadline than the rumored offers they were receiving last summer for the superstar forward.
Here’s more out of Miami:
- The Heat are interested in bringing back Jamal Cain on a two-way contract, which is why they gave him a qualifying offer, but the young forward hopes to land a standard deal and continues to discuss that possibility with other teams, Jackson writes. Miami could match a potential offer sheet for Cain since he’s a restricted free agent.
- Miami is interested in signing former Northwestern guard Chase Audige, who played for the Heat’s Summer League team, to a training camp contract, but his agent declined to say whether or not Audige would accept the offer, Jackson adds. As a senior for the Wildcats in 2022/23, the 6’4″ Audige averaged 14.1 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 2.9 APG and 2.4 SPG in 34 games (34.4 MPG), though he struggled with scoring efficiency (.368/.325/.832 shooting line).
- The Heat have had discussions with Goran Dragic‘s representatives about a possible reunion, but a potential deal likely wouldn’t come to fruition until later this summer, according to Jackson. The veteran free agent guard made his lone All-Star appearance with the Heat, but he’s 37 years old and dealt with a knee problem last season that required surgery. The Heat can only offer the veteran’s minimum, which may take them out of the running for free agents like Christian Wood and Kelly Oubre, who are looking for more money, per Jackson.
- In a mailbag for The Miami Herald, Anthony Chiang answers questions about the Heat’s roster and how the new second apron might affect the team going forward.