Jaime Jaquez

Heat Notes: Lillard, Jovic, Martin, Love

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.

Jazz, Bulls, Hornets, Nets Interested In Tyler Herro

Add the Jazz to the list of teams that could be involved on the periphery of a Damian Lillard trade, writes Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

In particular, if the Trail Blazers eventually trade Lillard to the Heat, the Jazz, Bulls, Hornets and Nets are all thought to be interested in acquiring Tyler Herro in a multi-team trade, sources tell Fischer. Portland is reportedly unenthusiastic about Herro, in part because the team already has a trio of young guards in Scoot Henderson, Shaedon Sharpe and Anfernee Simons.

League personnel also expect the Blazers to ask the Heat for Jaime Jaquez in a possible deal, according to Fischer. A small forward out of UCLA, Jaquez was selected 18th overall by Miami in June’s draft.

Brooklyn has long been considered a team with a level of interest in Herro. The other three teams are new possible landing spots for the 23-year-old, however, from what we’ve seen reported in recent months.

Trade talks for Lillard have picked up steam ahead of training camp, though a deal isn’t considered imminent. The Bulls and Raptors are reportedly among Lillard’s other suitors, despite the veteran guard making it clear (via his agent) that he wants to land in Miami.

Multiple sources tell Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports that the Pacers are another team that could potentially help facilitate a Lillard trade, along with the Suns.

Indiana is looking to move Buddy Hield after extension talks fizzled. It’s unclear where Hield would be headed in that scenario — or if he’d even be involved. Dallas, Philadelphia and Milwaukee are rumored to be interested in the veteran sharpshooter.

Erik Spoelstra Discusses Heat’s Roster, Offseason Moves

There’s a sense that the Heat‘s offseason remains unfinished, with the Damian Lillard saga unresolved and Miami still looking like the overwhelming favorite to trade for the Trail Blazers star sooner or later.

However, speaking to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst on NBA Today on Thursday (YouTube link), head coach Erik Spoelstra suggested that he’d be happy to head into the 2023/24 season with his current roster, noting that the team “had most of our work done” by the time he reported to Team USA for the summer.

“We’re bringing back the majority of our players and that’s a luxury in this league,” Spoelstra said, per Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. “Things are so transient, things are moving fast. It seems like it’s moving faster now than even four, five, six years ago.

“We feel great about our group. We made some nice additions, we feel. Josh Richardson, getting another family member back into our program. Thomas Bryant, who we’ve been a big fan of. And [Jaime] Jaquez as our draft pick. We’re excited. He’s a guy you can plug and play right now. He’s a little bit older and he has a great deal of experience. So we’re adding those guys to our mix and bringing everybody back. Tyler [Herro] is healthy, Jimmy [Butler] and Bam [Adebayo], that’s a great core. So we’re excited about it.”

Spoelstra obviously can’t publicly discuss the possibility of adding Lillard and is unlikely to be directly involved in trade negotiations for the star guard, which will be handled by the front office. So the fact that he’s speaking positively about his current group is no surprise.

Still, Spoelstra is putting a positive spin on what has been an up-and-down offseason so far for the Heat. While Miami did well to get Richardson and Bryant on minimum-salary deals, the team lost two key rotation players – Gabe Vincent and Max Strus – in free agency. The Heat should be competitive again with no additional roster changes, but acquiring Lillard would almost certainly increase the club’s ceiling.

Players Who Signed July 1 Are Now Eligible To Be Traded

The peak of the NBA’s transactions season has calmed down after an active start to July, but a few more players have become eligible to be traded on the final day of the month, notes Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link).

The 30-day trade restriction window has expired for draft picks who signed their contracts on July 1, along with six players who inked two-way contracts on that date.

The designation won’t matter for those at the very top of the draft, as the Spurs and Trail Blazers obviously won’t consider trading Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson, respectively. However, it could come into play for a few others, especially if more big-name players are on the move as the summer winds down.

In addition to those top-three picks, first-rounders who signed on July 1 are the Magic’s Anthony Black and Jett Howard, the PacersJarace Walker and Ben Sheppard, the Trail BlazersKris Murray and the Heat’s Jaime Jaquez. The No. 18 pick out of UCLA, Jaquez has been mentioned as a potential asset in a trade to bring Damian Lillard to Miami.

Two-way players who signed on July 1, according to NBA.com’s transactions log, are the SixersTerquavion Smith and Ricky Council, the Heat‘s Dru Smith and Jamaree Bouyea, the Trail Blazers Ibou Badji and the RocketsTrevor Hudgins.

Most veteran free agents who signed this summer won’t become eligible to be traded by their teams until December 15 or January 15, depending on their circumstances. Those signings didn’t become official until July 6 or later because of the NBA’s summer moratorium.

Heat Notes: Jaquez, Haslem, Jovic, Lillard

When Jaime Jaquez was drafted by the Heat last month, one of his first actions was to send a text message to Udonis Haslem, writes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. Haslem has retired after 20 seasons in the NBA, but he still represents the epitome of Heat Culture and Jaquez thought it was important to show respect.

“I know he’s the OG of the Miami Heat,” Jaquez said. “I felt it was only right that I reach out to him first and just let him know that I’m excited to be here and ready to work.”

Haslem said during a recent radio interview that Jaquez is “definitely a culture guy,” and they continued to text each other throughout Summer League. Jaquez grew up in California as a Lakers fan, but he followed the Heat closely as well so he’s aware of Haslem’s importance to the franchise.

“I’m a basketball fan, I was a Heat fan,” Jaquez said. “I always loved the Lakers, but the Heat was always my No. 2 and I’ve just always known about him and his presence in the organization. Being a basketball fan, you know who he is.”

There’s more from Miami:

  • Even though Haslem is officially retired, he’s still serving as a mentor to many of the team’s young players, Chiang adds. “I continue to stay connected to Orlando (Robinson), who had an amazing Summer League,” Haslem said. “I continue to stay connected to (Jamal) Cain, who had a hell of a Summer League, Niko (Nikola Jovic), who played well in the beginning (of Summer League), all these guys. There’s a next generation and I just continue to build relationships and bank equity with those guys.” 
  • Jaquez made a positive impression on Heat officials during Summer League, even though he was held out after injuring his shoulder in the second game, Chiang states in a separate story. Miami was also encouraged by the play of Jovic, last year’s first-round pick, who appeared in four games before joining the Serbian national team. “There’s a lot to like about his development so far,” coach Erik Spoelstra said of Jovic. “… You see the rebounding, you see the off-ball awareness defensively, his ability to take a rebound off the glass and push it in transition. These are skills that are really tough to teach. He has great vision.”
  • Former NBA star Gary Payton, who was in Miami on Sunday as a coach in the Big3 League, sees Damian Lillard as a perfect addition for the Heat, per Ira Winderman of The Sun-Sentinel. “Dame had to make the decision: Do I want to keep doing what I do, or do I want to try to win a championship? And that’s what he wants to do now,” said Payton, who followed a similar path before coming to Miami late in his career. “It is just time, time for him to make a move to where he wants to go.”

Heat Notes: Lillard, Peterson, Jaquez, C. Butler

Although Heat rookie forward Jaime Jaquez Jr. played in just one full Summer League contest and less than half of a second before being shut down due to a shoulder ailment, Miami already likes what it’s seeing out of the UCLA alum.

Heat general manager Andy Elisburg raved about Jaquez’ fit during an interview on WQAM, as recounted by Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel.

“I think he’s our type of guy,” Elisburg said. “I think he comes from the same kind of ethos that we think we value, with players that we value. He has that kind of competitiveness and the work ethic that you want to see.

“… You’re excited to see what he’s able to do as he takes his game and grows it. At this point in time, he’s got things he does well, things he can do better at. And the great players take the things that they can do better at, and become better at that.”

There’s more out of Miami:

  • Given how pricey the final two years of Damian Lillard‘s contract are, the Heat are currently not particularly inclined to increase their offer for the Trail Blazers point guard, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN recently revealed during an interview on the network (Twitter video link via ClutchPoints). “The Miami Heat, the team that is most motivated to trade for Damian Lillard, where he wants to end up, they don’t want to be in a situation where they’re bidding against themselves right now,” Woj said (hat tip to HoopsHype for the transcription). “They look out into the marketplace, they see teams that are – they know the market does not love the idea of paying Damian Lillard a $60MM average at 35 and 36 years old over the last two years of that deal. If this was a contract with two years left, it would be different, perhaps. So there’s no rush for either side to be real aggressive in their conversations with each other.”
  • Drew Peterson, an undrafted combo forward out of USC, has been making waves as a sharpshooter while playing for the Heat’s Summer League club. Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald wonders if the 6’9″ prospect could become Miami’s latest undrafted diamond-in-the-rough discovery. He will reportedly sign an Exhibit 10 training camp deal with the team. His size and shooting ability already appears to be intriguing the club. “Because he caught on to the team continuity and understood the concept of what we were trying to get accomplished,” assistant coach and Summer League head coach Caron Butler said. “From the spacing standpoint, playing off the other guys, the handlers, catch-and-goes, he’s done a remarkable job with that.” Across his three games with the Heat, Peterson is connecting on 57.1% of his 4.7 long range tries per contest.
  • Butler, an All-Star in his playing days, has unexpectedly fallen in love with coaching, Chiang writes in another Miami Herald story“I didn’t know that I was going to fall in love with the game and the teaching and all those things,” Butler told Chiang. “But it’s something that I just can’t see myself not doing now because of the connection with the players and seeing them get it and the information that you instill in them. That feeling is priceless.” After retiring from the league in 2016, Butler served as a TV analyst, first for the college game with ESPN in 2017, and subsequently for the Lakers, Wizards and the NBA at large with various networks. He joined Erik Spoelstra‘s coaching staff for the 2020/21 season.

Heat Notes: Jaquez, Jovic, D. Robinson, O. Robinson, Richardson

Heat players are trying to focus on their Summer League games, but trade rumors are never far away, especially for those who might be sent to Portland in a potential Damian Lillard deal, writes Ira Winderman of The Sun Sentinel. First-round pick Jaime Jaquez was held out of Saturday’s game and Nikola Jovic stayed on the bench for the final 7:59, leading to speculation that the Heat are trying to protect their trade assets. Both players have minor injuries that coach Caron Butler didn’t want to risk aggravating.

“I don’t mind trade talk,” said Jovic, a first-round pick in 2022. “I’m not that much on Twitter. People from Europe don’t use it that much. I heard a lot of it was on Twitter, so I’m trying to keep away from that.”

Duncan Robinson, another potential trade piece because of the three seasons remaining on his five-year, $90MM contract, attended Saturday’s game and talked to the Heat’s broadcast team about what it’s like to constantly be involved in trade rumors. He said it’s important to avoid being consumed by the speculation and to stay away from social media as much as possible.

There’s more on the Heat:

  • Orlando Robinson showed off an improved three-point shot as he posted 36 points in Saturday’s win over the Celtics, observes Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald. The 23-year-old center has been working to improve that part of his game after going 0-for-6 from long distance during his rookie season. “I definitely tweaked some things, keeping my arm closer to me and keeping it more in line and getting more arc on it instead of flat,” Robinson said. “And just repetitions. Just getting up as many threes as possible, so I can mentally get those reps and just feel it. So when I get into the game, I can shoot confidently.”
  • Jaquez may not play at all in Las Vegas after hurting his shoulder on Wednesday in the final game of the California Classic Summer League, Chiang adds in another Herald story. “My goal is I want to play if I can,” Jaquez said. “I want to be out there with the guys and showcase what I can do. But at the same time, understanding that you got to take care of your body as well. It’s just kind of finding that in between. But day-to-day right now.”
  • Josh Richardson had better offers from other teams, but he opted to sign for the veteran’s minimum because he wants to return to Miami, per Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Richardson started his career with the Heat before being shipped to Philadelphia in the Jimmy Butler trade in 2019. “Sometimes you have got to sacrifice certain things,” he said. “I had talks with coaches and after weighing the options, I thought that it would be in my best interests and everyone involved to come back and give it another go.”

Latest On Damian Lillard

Trail Blazers general manager Joe Cronin will try to accommodate the trade request Damian Lillard made earlier today, but he will also operate in the best interests of his own team, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Rival front offices believe Cronin is looking for a “star-level” return and he’s willing to consider other teams besides Miami, which is Lillard’s preferred destination.

Cronin confirmed that sentiment in a statement he issued after the Lillard news was made public, saying, “We have been clear that we want Dame here, but he notified us today he wants out and he’d prefer to play someplace else. What has not changed for us is that we’re committed to winning, and we are going to do what’s best for the team in pursuit of that goal.” (Twitter link)

Tyler Herro, who has four years and $120MM left on his contract, is considered a vital part of any Heat deal for salary matching purposes. However, sources tell Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link) that Cronin doesn’t view Herro as a good fit with his roster and would try to find a third team to take him if Lillard is traded to Miami. The Nets have been considered as a team that might take on Herro’s contract, according to Ian Begley of SNY.tv (Twitter link).

There’s also a sense that the Blazers won’t rush into a deal and will take their time to make sure they get the best return for Lillard, tweets Mark Medina of Sportsnaut.

Many teams are interested in acquiring Lillard, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic, who names the Sixers, Clippers and Jazz among them. Amick reiterates that a third team would likely have to get involved for a trade with Miami to work.

Amick also examines what led to Lillard’s trade request, saying he was ready to ask for a deal when he and his agent met with Cronin on Monday. Cronin was able to talk Lillard into waiting to see what the team was able to do in free agency, but when no major additions took place Friday night, Lillard called coach Chauncey Billups and decided it was time to move on.

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer also has doubts that Lillard will end up in Miami, stating that the Heat’s potential best offer would be “one of the worst trades in NBA history.” He believes Miami would be willing to accept Jusuf Nurkic‘s contract along with Lillard, while sending back Herro, Kyle Lowry, Jaime Jaquez, Nikola Jovic, first-round picks in 2028 and 2030 and a pick swap in 2029. O’Connor points out that the deal wouldn’t give Portland a collection of valuable picks or young talent to build around.

O’Connor lists eight teams that he believes should be aggressively pursuing Lillard, starting with the Sixers. Philadelphia has indicated that it’s not willing to part with Tyrese Maxey, but if that changes, O’Connor views Maxey, two future first-rounders, a pick swap and expiring contracts as better than what Miami can offer. He points out that Sixers president Daryl Morey can pick up more trade assets by sending James Harden to the Clippers before addressing Lillard.

Draft Rumors: Miller, Henderson, Pistons, Howard, Jaquez

Numerous insiders have stated that the Hornets are leaning heavily toward taking Brandon Miller with the No. 2 pick in tonight’s draft, but Miller indicated Wednesday that he hasn’t been promised anything, writes Adam Zagoria of NJ.com.

“Probably when I get drafted is when I’ll know where I’m going,” Miller said. He added that he’ll be equally happy heading to Charlotte with the second pick or Portland at No. 3.

In an updated mock draft released this morning, Sam Vecenie of The Athletic moved G League Ignite guard Scoot Henderson up to No. 2 ahead of Miller. Vecenie has been skeptical of rumors that Charlotte is leaning toward Miller because he’s a better fit, and he continues to doubt leaks that the Hornets have decided on Miller after bringing both players in for a second workout on Monday.

Vecenie points out that general manager Mitch Kupchak said at a news conference Wednesday that team officials didn’t get a lot of new information from that second visit. Vecenie adds that incoming owners Gabe Plotkin and Rich Schnall will be involved in the draft decision, and they may view Henderson as the better prospect.

There’s more draft news to pass along:

  • The Pistons are listening to offers for the No. 5 pick, but their asking price is “prohibitively high,” Jonathan Givony states in ESPN’s updated mock draft (subscription required). He cites the Jazz, who hold the ninth and 16th picks, as a team that would like to move up if Detroit eases its demands. Givony adds that Pistons’ ownership may be reluctant to trade down, hoping to add an exciting prospect after such a difficult season. Givony lists Ausar Thompson as his choice for Detroit, noting that Cam Whitmore has likely fallen into the 6-9 range.
  • Michigan’s Jett Howard tells Sean Deveney of Heavy.com that he worked out this week for the Lakers, who hold pick No. 17. Deveney points out that the freshman guard already has a connection with L.A. general manager Rob Pelinka, who played with Jett’s father, Juwan Howard, for two seasons with the Wolverines. “Rob was there, talked to him a little bit,” Howard said of the 30-minute session with the Lakers. “I have known him so long, it was kind of an organic conversation. And yeah, if they pick me, I would be more than happy to play for them.”
  • The Lakers, Heat (18) and Warriors (19) may all have interest in UCLA’s Jaime Jaquez, Deveney adds in a separate story. Jaquez credits strong workouts with helping to raise his draft stock. “I think I did well in the workouts, I went out there and showed what I can do, and hopefully teams saw what I was capable of,” he said. “There were question marks going into those workouts, I went into those workouts trying to answer those questions. I think that is why I got this invite here.”
  • Jaquez is one of the final additions to the Green Room list issued by the NBA (Twitter link), along with Brandin Podziemski and Rayan Rupert.

Celtics Rumors: Pritchard, Draft, G. Williams, Beal, Jefferson

The Celtics have been weighing the possibility of trading Payton Pritchard to try to move into the first round of the 2023 NBA draft, reports Sean Deveney of Heavy.com. Boston doesn’t currently control a first-round pick.

A couple of possible targets could be Marquette wing Olivier-Maxence Prosper and UCLA wing Jaime Jaquez, according to Deveney.

Great organization, great history. I had a really good time there,” Prosper said of his workout with the Celtics.

However, Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports suggests (via Twitter) that a potential package deal involving Pritchard and the No. 35 pick might be shelved if the team is able to acquire Kristaps Porzingis from Washington, with Malcolm Brogdon possibly heading to the Clippers and Danilo Gallinari being sent to the Wizards. Losing Brogdon would obviously affect Boston’s backcourt depth and would seemingly open up playing time for Pritchard.

Here are a few more rumors and notes on the Celtics:

  • Multiple league sources tell Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe that if the Celtics do land Porzingis, there’s a good chance Grant Williams may be headed to a new team (Twitter link). As Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype tweets, adding Porzingis’ $36MM contract for 2023/24 would push the club close to the second tax apron, and releasing Williams’ cap hold (along with several others) would give Boston access to the taxpayer mid-level exception. Re-signing Williams would push the Celtics past the second apron.
  • Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston explains why the Celtics weren’t in on the Bradley Beal sweepstakes despite the three-time All-Star’s close ties to Jayson Tatum. Aside from his massive contract and full no-trade clause, which have to be highlighted when talking about a taxpayer like Boston, the Celtics are focused on rebalancing the roster by adding size at other positions rather than acquiring another guard, Forsberg writes.
  • Former NBA big man Amile Jefferson, who was an assistant coach with Duke in ’22/23, is finalizing a multiyear contract to join the Celtics as an assistant, a source tells Travis Branham of 247Sports.com. Jefferson played 30 games with the Magic from 2018-20.