The Miami Heat are expected by multiple teams to land free agent forward Kelly Oubre Jr. this offseason if they acquire Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard in a trade, according to NBA insider Marc Stein.
The Heat have been rumored to be interested in Lillard all summer, but recent reports have stated that talks aren’t progressing right now.
“Multiple teams I’ve spoken to recently expect free agent swingman Kelly Oubre Jr. to ultimately land with the Miami Heat … provided that the Heat are ultimately successful in their quest to trade for Portland’s Damian Lillard,” Stein wrote.
“The presumption is that Miami is likely to have a clear need on the wing if it can eventually manage the requisite trade package to pry Lillard from the Pacific Northwest after a frustratingly quiet summer on that front for the Heat.”
Oubre is coming off a big 2022-23 season with the Charlotte Hornets where he averaged 20.3 points per game (the best mark of his career) while shooting 43.1 percent from the field and 31.9 percent from beyond the arc.
He would fill an immediate need for Miami on the wing, especially since the team lost sharpshooter Max Strus this offseason in a sign-and-trade deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Additionally, players like Tyler Herro, Nikola Jovic, Duncan Robinson and Jaime Jaquez Jr. could end up being involved in a potential Lillard trade, possibly leaving the team rather thin at the wing spots. Adding Oubre would certainly be a great way to shore up the concern.
He’s averaged at least 15 points per game in each of the last five seasons, which would be a welcome sign for a Miami team that could lose a former Sixth Man of the Year (Herro) if it makes a move for Lillard.
The Heat made the NBA Finals last season, and they’ve reached the Eastern Conference Finals in three of the last four NBA seasons.
The team is close to getting another NBA title, and it’s possible that adding a combo of Lillard and Oubre would take the Heat over the top.
For now, the squad has to wait out trade talks for Lillard as the 2023-24 season approaches.