The Heat don’t have any reason to increase their offer for Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard unless they’re determined to have him when training camp opens, Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald writes in a mailbag column. No other team has made a significant offer for Lillard, Chiang notes, so Miami would essentially be bidding against itself by giving more assets to Portland.
Chiang adds that the first step would be for the Heat and Blazers to resume trade discussions, which have been dormant for several weeks. Sources around the league tell Chiang that they expect the teams to start talking again some time before they both open camp in early October.
Chiang also speculates that things might get “messier” in Portland if Lillard is still on the roster at the start of camp, which would mark three months after he submitted his trade request. It’s not ideal for the Heat to start preparing for a new season amid so much uncertainty, so the time pressure could renew both teams’ interest in getting a trade completed.
There’s more from Miami:
- Without a trade, the Heat’s most likely starting lineup appears to be Kyle Lowry, Tyler Herro, Jimmy Butler, Kevin Love and Bam Adebayo, Chiang adds in the same piece. Butler and Adebayo are the only full-time starters returning from a team that just reached the NBA Finals a few months ago, although Herro was sidelined with an injury and Lowry and Love both have extensive starting experience. Chiang speculates that Caleb Martin could take Love’s place on occasions when Miami wants to use a smaller starting five, and Herro could be used as a makeshift point guard with Josh Richardson starting alongside him in the backcourt.
- The Heat were mentioned as a possible destination for Christian Wood before he signed with the Lakers this week, but Miami isn’t in position to make complementary roster moves until it knows what’s going to happen with Lillard, according to Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. Wood reportedly had been watching the trade requests involving Lillard and James Harden to see if a situation might open up that would offer him regular playing time, but he decided not to wait any longer to find his next team.
- Erik Spoelstra’s experience as an assistant coach with Team USA during the World Cup provided him with another example of the need for size on the front line, Winderman adds. The Americans were routinely outrebounded by larger opponents, just as Miami was in losing to the Nuggets in the NBA Finals. The Heat finished 27th in the league in rebounding last season, which may affect Spoelstra’s decision on whom to start at power forward.