Now that Damian Lillard has reportedly expressed his desire to be traded to the Miami Heat, one report has revealed some reasons why he thinks it would be a perfect landing spot for him.
Source said Lillard wants Miami because he loves the city;has great respect for Jimmy & Heat and is good friends with Bam.And chance to win.Portland hasn't specifically told him yet that it will agree to try to trade him to Miami,but I would be surprised if they don't accommodate
— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) July 1, 2023
Lillard reportedly wants to part ways with the Portland Trail Blazers, who now must work out a deal to move him, with Miami a desirable destination for all of the reasons listed.
Lillard’s respect for Jimmy Butler is in line with that sentiment around the league, as the Heat’s emotional leader has made quite a name for himself helping them reach the NBA Finals in 2020 and 2023. The Trail Blazers star and Bam Adebayo have developed a close friendship after playing for Team USA at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, where they won gold medals.
And the Heat certainly would provide the 32-year-old a better chance to win his first NBA championship than the Trail Blazers do, at least in the immediate future. Miami has made the Eastern Conference Finals in three of the past four seasons, while Portland has not won a playoff series since reaching the Western Conference Finals in 2019.
Lillard has been the No. 1 priority for the Heat since last season ended, but it was unclear what the Weber State University product wanted to do. He reportedly was willing to give the Trail Blazers a chance to surround him with better talent to avoid a full rebuild, but as the offseason has played out, that sentiment looks to have changed.
The Heat also had several plans in place to go forward with or without Lillard, including running it back with top-notch role players in support of Butler and Adebayo.
But Gabe Vincent left as a free agent to join the Los Angeles Lakers, and Max Strus is being included in a sign-and-trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers, so Lillard’s decision to move on from his 11-season NBA home comes at just the right time for all involved.
Miami also has added free agents Josh Richardson and Thomas Bryant and re-signed Kevin Love since free agency began on Friday.
With Lillard possibly coming on board, the Heat roster will be close to fully formed and in position to contend for an NBA championship for as long as he and 33-year-old Butler remain among the league’s top players.