NBA Rumors: Potential Blazers-Heat trade for Damian Lillard
The Miami Heat cannot be ruled out, no matter how dead those conversations appear from the outcome. Lillard has done everything in his power to position Miami as the favorites and the Heat's competitive window is preciously narrow with Jimmy Butler entering his age-34 season. Miami can always attract stars in free agency, but it's still not often that players of Lillard's caliber come knocking.
Lillard would cement the reigning East champs as favorites in a winnable conference. Lillard would improve the Heat's core area of weakness (in the regular season), which was consistency beyond the arc. He's a high-volume shooter who can split playmaking duties with Butler, who operates almost exclusively within 18 feet of the basket during the regular season.
The Heat take Jusuf Nurkic's contract off Portland's hands to sweeten to pot in lieu of better prospects or draft capital. The Heat don't have a young player on the level of Tyrese Maxey or O.G. Anunoby, but Tyler Herro is a proven 20 points per game scorer who can yield more assets from the Utah Jazz or another interested third team.
Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Nikola Jovic are first-round picks with varying degrees of upside. Jaquez in particular doesn't really fit with Portland's core, but he's a young player to develop in a patient rebuild. There's no harm in taking as many swings as possible if you're the Blazers front office; the goal is the bleed Miami's asset collection dry.
This framework allows Miami to keep Caleb Martin on the heels of his postseason breakout. A starting five of Bam Adebayo, Caleb Martin, Jimmy Butler, Damian Lillard, and *insert fifth player here* is hard to deny. There's definite risk in giving up as much as the Heat are here, but it's all relative. The Heat simply lack the trade flexibility of other interested parties. This isn't the best deal, but it's enough for Portland to walk away satisfied.