Miami Heat insider offers major update on where team’s priorities lie amid links to James Harden and Damian Lillard

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Although the Miami Heat have been linked to James Harden this week, their primary focus remains Damian Lillard, according to a report.

With Harden preferring to be traded to the Los Angeles Clippers from the Philadelphia 76ers, the Heat can keep their interest firmly on trying to acquire Lillard from the Portland Trail Blazers.

Harden opted into his contract for the 2023-24 NBA season with the 76ers, but only to facilitate a way to get traded. It was long thought that if Harden were to leave Philadelphia, he’d have his sights set on a reunion with the Houston Rockets, but that appears less likely now.

Earlier this month, Harden was reportedly “torn” between staying with the 76ers or going back to the Rockets.

After the veteran opted into his contract with the Sixers on Thursday to clear the way for a trade, Miami was quickly named as a potential landing spot for him.

Meanwhile, the Heat have been linked to Lillard for quite some time. The guard would likely be an excellent fit alongside Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo as Miami seeks more star power after losing to the Denver Nuggets in the NBA Finals.

An interesting twist could emerge for the Heat if and when Harden is ultimately traded by the 76ers. If Philadelphia turns around and uses what it acquires as a way to pursue Lillard, that could be a problem for Miami.

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald describes that as a “nightmare scenario” for the Heat.

The Heat are seemingly willing to wait patiently while Lillard’s future with the Blazers becomes clearer. Reports have indicated that if Portland and Lillard do agree to part ways, Miami will likely be a serious factor as a potential landing spot.

Miami reportedly is looking to trade Kyle Lowry as part of a possible deal for Lillard, but it obviously would take much more than that.

Lillard earlier this month expressed an interest in joining the Heat, so perhaps it will just take some time for that to finally play out. But even if it does not, it doesn’t seem likely that Harden will find himself wearing a Heat uniform when the 2023-24 season starts.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has covered the NBA for almost three decades. His introduction to the business included the legendary Heat-Knicks rivalry from the 1990s.