Recently, ESPN released an article detailing four hypothetical trades for Portland Trail Blazers star point guard Damian Lillard.
In the article, Tim Bontemps reported that a Rudy Gobert-type trade package for Lillard “simply doesn’t exist.” For context, the Utah Jazz traded Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves in the summer of 2022 and received a historic amount of assets in return for the big man.
Utah received Malik Beasley, Patrick Beverley, Leandro Bolmaro, Walker Kessler, Jarred Vanderbilt, four first-round picks and one pick swap in 2026 in exchange for the three-time All-Star.
“It might not be perfect, or one that resembles the Rudy Gobert-to-Minnesota trade in 2022, but that kind of deal simply doesn’t exist,” Bontemps wrote regarding his proposed trade between the Miami Heat and Trail Blazers.
Lillard was selected with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft after playing four seasons of college basketball at Weber State University. His freshman season with the team was forgettable, though. Lillard averaged 11.5 points, 3.9 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.1 steals per game in 31 appearances with the Wildcats during the 2008-09 season (26 starts).
The 6-foot-2 point guard was one of the best players in the nation at his position during his final three seasons with Weber State, however. Lillard averaged 17-plus points, three-plus assists and three-plus rebounds per game in each of his last three seasons of college basketball.
Lillard’s contributions during his senior season, the 2011-12 season, led to a lot of wins for the Wildcats. They finished the season with an excellent 25-7 record but missed out on the NCAA Tournament.
Lillard, 33, has played 11 seasons in the NBA, all as a member of the Trail Blazers franchise. He averaged a career-high 32.2 points per game to go along with 4.8 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 0.9 steals per game in 58 appearances with Portland during the 2022-23 regular season (all starts). Lillard also scored the ball with impressive accuracy from the field, as he converted 46.3 percent of his field-goal attempts and 37.1 percent of his three-point attempts.
Those numbers were good enough for Lillard to earn an All-Star nod — the seventh of his pro career — as well as a spot on the All-NBA Third Team.
Bontemps’ report about a Gobert-type trade package for Lillard not existing is good news for Heat fans. Here’s to hoping that the Heat will be able to acquire the star point guard before the 2023-24 NBA regular season kicks off next month.