Veteran NBA coach says Heat have more leverage than Blazers in Damian Lillard trade talks'
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A veteran NBA coach believes that the Miami Heat have more leverage in a potential Damian Lillard trade with the Portland Trail Blazers.

According to the Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson, the veteran coach also shared what a reasonable offer would be for Portland to accept for the seven-time All-Star guard.

“The Heat has more leverage because he doesn’t want to go anywhere else and nobody is going to bid too much because of his age and contract,” the veteran coach said of Lillard.

Miami likely will need to part ways with former Sixth Man of the Year Tyler Herro, salary filler and draft capital in order to bring Lillard to Miami. The veteran coach also suggested a young player that the Heat may need to part with to convince Portland to trade the seven-time All-NBA selection.

“Maybe Jaime Jaquez; he has value,” the coach said. “He has toughness, he can defend. Herro should have more value than what people are saying. Guys that can score and shoot off the dribble, there’s value here.

“Getting picks next year is not a priority for teams. The 2024 draft is not as strong as 2025, 2026 are expected to be. Portland knows that.”

The Heat drafted Jaquez in the first round of the 2023 NBA Draft, so he could be a piece Portland could build around in future seasons.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst recently reported that Miami may be the only team pursuing Lillard, which would also give the Heat leverage in trade talks.

If Portland can’t find a better offer than what Miami is willing to give up, then it has to decide to either keep Lillard or trade him to the place he wants to go. The seven-time All-Star has four more years left on his contract, so the Blazers’ leverage is that they can hold onto him and dare him to sit out if he’s unhappy with the organization.

Portland has not been able to build a contender around Lillard in recent seasons despite his great play. The star guard averaged a career-high in points per game last season.

Lillard averaged 32.2 points and 7.3 assists per game while shooting 46.3 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from beyond the arc.

Despite those numbers, Portland didn’t even make the play-in tournament in the Western Conference in the 2022-23 season.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.