NBA insider predicts Damian Lillard will join Miami Heat before training camp

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It’s been nearly two months since Portland Trail Blazers star point guard requested a trade to the Miami Heat, yet he’s still a member of the former. But NBA insider Marc Spears has predicted that Lillard will be traded to the Heat before the start of training camp.

Lillard, 33, was selected with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft after a successful four-season stint at Weber State University. He averaged 11-plus points per game in each of his four seasons as a Wildcat, including 24.5 points per game as a senior.

The floor general has played 11 seasons in the NBA, all as a member of the Trail Blazers franchise. He averaged a career-high 32.2 points to go along with 4.8 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game in 58 appearances during the 2022-23 regular season (all starts).

Those numbers were good enough for Lillard to earn an All-Star nod, the seventh of his pro career.

The 6-foot-2 point guard’s contributions didn’t translate to a whole lot of wins for the Trail Blazers, however. They finished the 2022-23 regular season with a subpar 33-49 record, the third-worst record in the Western Conference, ahead of only the Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs, who both ended up with 22-60 records.

The 2022-23 season is far from the only underwhelming Trail Blazers season that Lillard has been part of, though. Lillard has been with the franchise for over a decade, yet he has reached the second round of the playoffs just three times and Western Conference Finals once.

In the one Western Conference Finals that Lillard played in as a Trail Blazer in 2019, his team got embarrassed by Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors swept Portland in four games, and Lillard shot just 37.1 percent from the field for the series.

Only time will tell if Spears’ prediction comes true. Hopefully it does come to fruition, as Lillard is one of the best point guards in the NBA, and he would make the Heat one of the favorites to represent the Eastern Conference in the 2024 NBA Finals.

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Jesse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA.