Some Eastern Conference foes are reportedly already fearful of how powerful the Miami Heat would be if they added Damian Lillard to Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.
Zach Lowe, on ESPN, just now mentioned he got texts from couple people who work for good teams in East and theme is 'God dammit..they think he's coming to Miami… thinking how are we going to deal with that big three ?' (if Blazers accommodate him) https://t.co/OxMqjTYAZy
— Barry Jackson (@flasportsbuzz) July 1, 2023
There are several important steps that still need to happen to fully justify those fears around the conference now that Lillard has requested to be traded from the Portland Trail Blazers and named Miami as his preferred landing spot.
Above all, the Trail Blazers have to try to accommodate their franchise player’s trade request while also still engineering a deal they at least find palatable. The Heat reportedly are prepared to offer a package headlined by Tyler Herro that would possibly include Duncan Robinson (but preferably not Caleb Martin).
ESPN has reported that the Trail Blazers are seeking a star-level return for Lillard and plan to engage with teams other than Miami. The Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Clippers appear to be in the mix, and the San Antonio Spurs may be among the possibilities as well.
The 32-year-old reportedly has many reasons why he prefers Miami over any other possible destination, with his respect for Butler and friendship with Adebayo among them. That trio also would satisfy Lillard’s desire to have a realistic chance at winning an NBA championship for the first time.
His arrival certainly would help Miami’s efforts to capture another title after the team fell short in the 2023 NBA Finals against the Denver Nuggets. The Heat’s offense dropped off late in the playoffs, and that was before they lost Gabe Vincent to the Los Angeles Lakers as a free agent and parted with Max Strus in a sign-and-trade with the Cleveland Cavaliers this offseason.
Miami did recently add Josh Richardson and was able to agree to a new deal with Kevin Love.
Lillard averaged 32.2 points per game last season, and if he were to be traded, that would be the highest scoring average for a player before changing teams the following season, according to ESPN.
Adding that kind of offensive boost to what was already a contending team makes it easy to see why the rest of the league might have concerns about the possibility of a new Big 3 in Miami.