The Damian Lillard trade saga is over, but he did not end up with the Miami Heat. Instead, the Portland Trailblazers traded Lillard to the Milwaukee Bucks for Deandre Ayton, Jrue Holiday, and some picks and pick swaps from the Bucks. The Blazers reportedly rejected a better trade offer from the Heat, likely out of sheer pettiness. Let’s discuss this further.
Heat Off-Season Companion Part 17: The Blazers Rejected a Better Offer from the Heat
It is no surprise that the Blazers had little to no interest in trading Damian Lillard to the Heat, given that the reporting on the situation indicated that. In the end, the Blazers received Deandre Ayton, Jrue Holiday, 2029 unprotected first-round pick from the Bucks, and the right to swap first-round picks with the Bucks in 2028 and 2030.
This is not fair value for Lillard, especially given that the Blazers intend to immediately trade Jrue Holiday to another team. By contrast, reports indicate that the Heat offered Tyler Herro, Nikola Jovic, three first-round picks, and multiple second-round picks. It’s reasonable that the Blazers would want to get the best return for Lillard.
However, accepting the Heat’s offer would have meant they received better value for Lillard. It seems to come down to the pettiness of the Blazers’ front office. They disliked how Lillard handled his trade request and were determined to trade him anywhere but Miami. As a result, they accepted the first offer they received from a team other than the Heat.
This is a frustrating conclusion to the Damian Lillard trade saga, but it’s really the fault of the Blazers’ front office for not cooperating.
The Heat Still Improved This Off-Season
Despite not getting Lillard, the Heat still improved during this off-season. The acquisitions of Josh Richardson and Thomas Bryant are good ones. It is also reasonable to expect Herro and Jovic to improve this season. Meanwhile, Jaime Jaquez Jr. has plenty of potential, as well.
The Heat have a better team now than they did last season.
The Heat Begin Training Camp Soon
Training camp for the Heat starts on October 3rd. The preseason starts shortly after that. It is a good bet that the Heat will make some move before the 2023-24 NBA regular season starts.
Check back next week for more Miami Heat content.