Nikola Jovic expresses desire to stay with Miami Heat amid Damian Lillard rumors'
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Miami Heat forward Nikola Jovic expressed his desire to remain with the franchise amid rumors that he could be included in a potential deal for Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard.

Jovic was Miami’s first-round pick in the 2022 NBA Draft (27th overall).

Jovic and Miami’s first-round pick in the 2023 NBA Draft – Jaime Jaquez Jr. – have both been rumored as potential options to be traded for Lillard alongside former Sixth Man of the Year Tyler Herro.

It was recently reported that the Heat have been prepared to offer a package of multiple first-round picks, expiring contracts, a young player like Jovic, Herro going to a third team for assets and possibly more for Lillard.

During his rookie season, Jovic only appeared in 15 games for the Heat. He showcased some of his talent, averaging 5.5 points, 2.1 rebounds and 0.7 assists per game while shooting 40.6 percent from the field.

However, the Heat couldn’t find a ton of minutes for him at the NBA level since they had such a veteran roster. The Heat ended up making the NBA Finals in the 2022-23 season as the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Jovic also appeared in seven regular season G League games last season, averaging 12.4 points, 5.6 rebounds and 2.6 assists per game. The youngster showed that he can shoot the ball at a high rate at that level, hitting 46.7 percent of his shots from the field and 34.5 percent of them from beyond the arc.

If the Heat make a deal for Lillard, there’s certainly a chance Jovic ends up as part of the package. However, if he doesn’t, he could have a solid role with the team in the 2023-24 season.

Miami lost two rotation players this offseason in guard Gabe Vincent (signed a three-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers in free agency) and sharpshooter Max Strus (dealt to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a sign-and-trade move).

That should open up some minutes for a player like Jovic to make an impact.

While his future in Miami is up in the air, Jovic is showing the franchise and its fans that he wants to stay if possible.

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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.