It might be taking longer than anyone involved would like, but NBA agents and executives reportedly still believe that Damian Lillard will ultimately land with the Miami Heat.
“I’ve talked to a bunch of agents, have talked to several executives with other teams, and it’s what everyone is talking about,” Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic said on his podcast. “And there just seems to be an overall belief that eventually, at some point, Miami will find a way to get the pieces together to get Damian Lillard there.”
It’s been more than a week since Lillard finally requested a trade from the Portland Trail Blazers and almost a month since the Heat season ended with a loss to the Denver Nuggets in the NBA Finals. Lillard and the Heat have been linked throughout the offseason, with the 32-year-old reportedly making it very clear that he wants to end up in Miami.
That seemingly immovable desire may be hamstringing things, with the Trail Blazers looking for at least palatable return that the Heat may not be able or willing to provide. Portland reportedly is seeking a substantial combination of players and draft picks, and the team evidently hasn’t gotten a good enough offer yet from Miami.
The sides may be looking for at least one more team and possibly multiple clubs to get involved to make a Lillard trade work.
Even though some Eastern Conference foes fear the Heat’s potential with Lillard on board, reports of other teams trying to make a play for him have been rare. That could be because Lillard’s agent is making it clear that his client would be unhappy anywhere but in Miami.
Lillard waited until after free agency began to finally make his request, even though a parting with Portland seemed possible long before that. A trade between the Heat and Trail Blazers could benefit both sides, with Miami getting another star to add to Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo in an attempt to make another run at the NBA championship and Portland getting pieces to start a legitimate rebuild.
The Heat at this point are relying heavily on landing Lillard after so far not adequately replacing Gabe Vincent and Max Strus, who departed for the Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers, respectively, this offseason. The situation has left Miami waiting to see if it can ultimately add some veteran reinforcements, with Danilo Gallinari among those on its radar.
If the talk around the league can be believed, the Heat seemingly have nothing to worry about, with the waiting perhaps the hardest part.