ESPN’s NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski recently offered an update on the latest trade talks surrounding Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard.
According to Wojnarowski, recently escalated talks surrounding the seven-time All-Star do not involve the Miami Heat.
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“Those talks have intensified this week with Damian Lillard, but still, there’s no trade imminent,” Wojnarowski said. “We talked about this throughout the summer that this would pick up once we got past Labor Day and training camp – the opening of training camp – loomed. And that’s exactly what’s happened.
“You have Portland trying to – listen not only talk to teams who have an interest in Lillard, but lots of teams who’d like to get in on a bigger deal. Can they pick up a couple draft picks to take on some money? Is there a need that they have that they can get in a three or four team trade? So, Portland, they’re exhausting all of those conversations this week. They’re certainly behaving like a team that wants to get a deal done, that is trying to get a deal done before training camp.
“Now, so far the one element that has not been a part of these talks are the Miami Heat. But we know in trade talks and conversations that can change in one moment with one call.”
Miami has been tabbed as a suitor for Lillard for quite some time, and it was reported that the star guard would request a trade to the Heat even if he were dealt to another team this offseason.
Miami’s offer likely centers around former Sixth Man of the Year Tyler Herro, draft picks and possibly some young players such as Nikola Jovic and Jaime Jaquez Jr.
However, the Blazers and Heat have yet to come to terms on a deal this offseason, and it appears that other teams are at least attempting to enter the Lillard sweepstakes.
A seven-time All-NBA selection, Lillard is still one of the best guards in the NBA. He 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 last season.
The Heat could use Lillard given the fact that they let guard Gabe Vincent walk in free agency this offseason. Vincent signed with the Los Angeles Lakers.
With Kyle Lowry entering the final season of his contract and dealing with injuries woes in the 2022-23 season, the Heat need a more proven option at the point guard position.
While Lillard may want to play for Miami, he doesn’t have all of the leverage in this trade scenario.
The Blazers have Lillard under contract well beyond the 2023-24 season, which means they could hold onto him until they find a deal they believe is worthy of moving him.
Plus, Lillard doesn’t have a no-trade clause in his contract, so he can’t have the final say on where he ends up playing.
That puts Miami in a tough spot, even if the team wants to make a deal for Lillard. The Blazers could simply reject Miami’s offer if they find one that they deem to be better.
For now, Heat fans will need to wait and see how these latest Lillard trade talks play out.