Despite the recent deluge of rumors linking Damian Lillard to the Raptors, Toronto-based reporter Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca (Twitter link) says the growing consensus around the NBA is that the Trail Blazers guard will ultimately land in Miami, his preferred destination.
If Lillard is sent to Miami, what would the Heat realistically have to give up? One veteran scout who spoke to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald believes that a package of Tyler Herro, three first-round picks, cap filler (likely Kyle Lowry‘s expiring contract), and one player from the trio of Nikola Jovic, Jaime Jaquez, and Caleb Martin would make sense for both sides.
“If I’m the Heat, I offer two (first-round) picks, Herro and one of the three young players, preferably Jovic or Jaquez, and see if anybody tops that,” the scout said. “If you have to give up one more pick, fine. Three picks are rich for a guy who’s 33 with ($216MM) left on his contract. But I could understand offering a third. I would do it if that made the difference in making the deal.”
Previous reporting indicated that Miami initially made an offer that included Herro and two first-round picks.
Because they owe a protected 2025 first-round pick to Oklahoma City, the Heat can currently only include two first-rounders in any trade package, due to the Stepien rule. They would have to reach a separate agreement with the Thunder amending the terms of that traded pick in order to free up a third movable first-rounder. Alternatively, they could offer one or more first-round pick swaps.
Here’s more on the Heat:
- Speaking to Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald, Nikola Jovic discussed his experience playing for Serbia in the FIBA World Cup, the status of a back injury that bothered him earlier in the year, and how it felt to have his name pop up in the Lillard trade rumors. A busy summer helped Jovic not spend much time thinking about that trade speculation, he told Chiang. “You just concentrate on other things. I was just so concentrated on basketball there that I didn’t have time to think about what’s going to happen,” Jovic said. “It’s a business. So what happens happens. But of course, right now when I’m (in Miami) and more people talk about it, it’s different than when I was there and just playing and being in the game all the time.”
- Chiang also interviewed Caleb Martin, who said that Miami feels like a “second home” to him after two years with the Heat and spoke about the offseason departures of Max Strus and Gabe Vincent. “We have to find that new connectivity and chemistry with the new guys,” Martin said. “But I feel like we got the right type of guys who fit that system and that shouldn’t be hard. It seems like everybody is about winning. You know what it is when you come to play for the Heat. So you just gotta jump in line with the culture. I feel like we got the right guys to do that.”
- In a pair of articles for The Sun Sentinel, Ira Winderman evaluates the Heat’s depth chart at small forward and power forward. As Winderman observes, one starting lineup decision on tap for Miami will be whether to try Martin as a starter at the four again or stick with a more traditional power forward like Kevin Love.