"The Miami Heat are not going to get Damian Lillard."
— The Carton Show (@TheCartonShow) June 26, 2023
“He’s not giving up his core,” Hardaway said of Pat Riley. “He’s not going to do that, Pat Riley. So, Miami is not going to get him because if they want these two players, and you don’t want to give ’em up, that’s too much.”
Lillard reportedly has “serious interest” in joining the Heat, and rumors connecting him to the organization are showing no signs of slowing down.
It has become clear that Bam Adebayo is off limits in any trade talks between the Heat and Blazers, and one has to imagine that the same is true regarding Jimmy Butler. That leaves the Heat with assets like Tyler Herro and Caleb Martin as potential headliners in trade talks.
It’s no secret that Miami is likely just a piece or two away from potentially getting over the hump. Lillard has the talent to completely change the Heat’s trajectory, but trading for him isn’t going to be an easy task.
Miami was two wins away from an NBA title in 2020, five wins away in 2022 and three wins away in 2023. Some NBA executives may think that the Heat’s success in the 2023 NBA Playoffs was due in part to a fluke, but the team is showing year after year that it’s worth investing in.
Riley certainly knows that there’s work to be done in order to get Miami closer to the promised land, but he’s also open to the idea of running the 2022-23 Heat roster back next season if push comes to shove. Few Heat fans would probably describe that as a good outcome, but if the team strikes out on Lillard, the number of impact players left for Miami to chase will start to shrink.
Time will tell what Lillard’s future holds. Butler seems to want the seven-time All-Star to come to South Florida, and he’s certainly not the only one. It’s going to be a crucial summer for the Heat as they try to figure out which goals are realistic and which ones aren’t.