The Miami Heat unfortunately may be finding themselves in one-sided trade talks involving Damian Lillard, with the Portland Trail Blazers reportedly showing “no interest” in doing a deal with the Heat for the 33-year-old.
Meanwhile, as of early this week, Portland was still showing no interest in doing a deal with Heat, who visit Blazers in late Feb. in what is reportedly Portland's only national TV game. To me, Lillard has much of leverage based on how messy he's willing to make this (unknown) https://t.co/y3cxhIbI2A
— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) August 17, 2023
Lillard requested a trade from Portland on July 1, and since then, Miami has been believed to be his preferred destination. However, the sides have not been able to complete an agreement, with some reports saying the Trail Blazers may be willing to wait a while to get the package they want.
Lillard reportedly is willing to show up to Trail Blazers training camp if he is not traded, but that would seemingly create a difficult situation in Portland.
Failing to land Lillard would be a significantly detrimental setback for the Heat, who have done very little else this offseason while waiting to add the high-scoring guard. He is thought to be the key to improving their chances of winning a championship after they lost in the NBA Finals in 2020 and 2023.
The Heat reportedly are willing to offer the Trail Blazers several first-round picks — with Tyler Herro going to a third team for assets — expiring contracts, a young player and potentially second-round picks and draft swaps.
It is difficult to determine which side has the leverage in the scenario, or if anyone actually does. One NBA coach said the Heat have the advantage because Lillard wants to play only for them, adding that teams aren’t likely to bid too much for an aging player with a big contract.
Lillard is set to make $45.6 million this season and has already exercised his player option for the 2024-25 campaign, so he could remain in Portland with no other options for two more seasons.
It is impossible to make a trade when one side refuses to agree with the other, so if the Trail Blazers continue to hold out, the Heat could remain frustrated for quite some time.