A strong reaction was to be expected from the Miami Heat when reports surfaced that Damian Lillard was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks on Wednesday, and Tyler Herro doubled down on Jimmy Butler’s call for the NBA to look into the Bucks for tampering.
Jimmy Butler says Bucks need to be investigated for tampering pic.twitter.com/0mR6QATxQb
— Heat Nation (@HeatNationCom) September 27, 2023
What he said https://t.co/S6Diyx8s5z
— Tyler Herro (@raf_tyler) September 27, 2023
“Yo, NBA man, y’all need to look into the Bucks for tampering,” Butler said. “Y’all do. I’m just gon’ put that out there. Y’all didn’t hear it from me, but I heard it through somebody.”
The Bucks seemingly came out of nowhere to acquire Lillard from the Portland Trail Blazers in a three-team deal that includes the Phoenix Suns. The Heat were long considered to be the probable landing spot for the 33-year-old ever since he requested a trade almost three months ago.
But Portland never seemed to show any interest in what Miami may have been offering, reportedly telling the Heat to basically “eat s—” and re-engaging in talks with several other teams.
The fact that the Trail Blazers are sending Lillard to the Bucks has to doubly hurt the Heat, who not only didn’t get the player they planned their entire offseason around but now have to compete against him to win the Eastern Conference and reach the NBA Finals.
Miami was looking to add Lillard to Butler and Bam Adebayo in its effort to get back to the Finals, which it lost to the Denver Nuggets last season. Now the Heat must go to whatever their plan B might be in an effort to remain among the upper echelon of the league.
Herro was considered to be a primary part of their trade offers for most of this offseason, and the 23-year-old made a cryptic social media post during the process.
Portland reportedly will receive Jrue Holiday, Deandre Ayton, Toumani Camara, Milwaukee’s 2029 unprotected first-round draft pick and unprotected Milwaukee swap rights in 2028 and 2030, sources told ESPN insider Adrian Wojnarowski. The Suns reportedly will receive Jusuf Nurkic, Grayson Allen, Nassir Little and Keon Johnson.
It’s possible the Heat could be in play for Holiday, with the Trail Blazers reportedly looking to flip him elsewhere to acquire even more assets. But based on the events leading up to Wednesday and the ultimate outcome of the Lillard saga, that also may be a difficult deal for the sides to reach.
Miami has a history of being able to make the best of whatever situation it finds itself in, but it definitely will be tested in the 2023-24 NBA season with Lillard about to become a conference rival instead of a Heat player.