The longer the Damian Lillard trade situation drags on, the more possibilities will be concocted to try to make a deal work, and the Miami Heat could come up with something that doesn’t include Tyler Herro as part of the package.
There’s a potential pathway for the Heat to keep Tyler Herro in a Damian Lillard trade, per @GregSylvander
Heat send out:
Jaime Jacquez Jr.
First round picks
First round pick… pic.twitter.com/85Cni0OnNj
— NBACentral (@TheDunkCentral) July 25, 2023
With Miami reportedly dug in on Herro as the centerpiece of their package and Portland unwilling to swap its franchise player for a deal headlined by the four-year NBA veteran, the sides haven’t come any closer to a transaction since Lillard finally made his trade request at the beginning of the month.
The Heat reportedly have been looking to make something happen without sacrificing their remaining role players, most significantly Caleb Martin, but that scenario has Herro leaving. The proposed package without Herro would basically gut what is remaining of their roster from last season but would allow them to keep their third-leading scorer behind Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.
The Trail Blazers reportedly are looking for two quality players plus four first-round draft picks, so perhaps the volume of this proposed trade would satisfy their wishes for multiple pieces.
For the Heat, having already lost Gabe Vincent, Max Strus, Victor Oladipo and Cody Zeller so far this offseason, also parting with Martin, Kyle Lowry and Duncan Robinson would leave them without seven of their top eight scorers outside of their top three from the 2022-23 season.
Jaime Jaquez Jr. was the No. 18 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft and is considered to be a young player who could help the Heat this season. Nikola Jovic was a little-used reserve last season but is only 20 years old coming off his rookie season.
Getting Jusuf Nurkic as part of a Lillard trade would be a very small step in what would be the Heat’s necessary effort to replenish their depth. The 28-year-old averaged 13.3 points and 9.1 rebounds per game in 52 appearances last season, his ninth in the NBA.
Several teams reportedly are looking to get in on a potential Lillard deal with an eye on possibly acquiring Herro for themselves.
A three-team trade was thought to be the easiest avenue to push Lillard to his preferred destination of Miami, but perhaps a deal with many pieces could wind up with the Heat and Trail Blazers working things out on their own.