Would the Heat pay this much for Lillard?
To make the proposed deal happen, the Heat would need to send a second-round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder and amend the protections on the first-round pick they owe them, shifting it to an unprotected 2026 first-rounder. That allows them to send their 2024, 2028 and 2030 firsts to the Trail Blazers, alongside their first-round picks in 2022 (Nikola Jovic) and 2023 (Jaime Jaquez Jr.). Add in three pick swaps, Tyler Herro and Kyle Lowry, who is expensive but played an important role in their postseason run, and it’s a mammoth package that the Heat are sending out.
That doesn’t mean it will be the best package out there, however. Far from it, most likely, if teams like the New Orleans Pelicans, Utah Jazz or even the Nets themselves push all of their chips into the middle. Yet it’s also the most the Heat can offer; the Trail Blazers can’t ask for more than that.
Adding Lillard would take the Heat from fringe Eastern Conference contenders into the inner circle of title favorites. Lillard and Butler are a nasty one-two punch on offense, and the pick-and-roll game between Dame and Bam would be fearsome. The Heat would have three top-20ish players, including two with very real claims to top-10 status. Two top-10 players is how you win NBA Championships.
Lillard is going to get very expensive, and the out-years of this deal will be very painful. If the Heat can win a title in the short term, however, that makes it all worth it. Miami can legitimately make this deal and believe that it can win a title in the next few years; that’s the scenario where you make such a deal. A starting lineup of Lillard, Duncan Robinson, Butler, Kevin Love and Bam Adebayo, with Caleb Martin, Orlando Robinson and Josh Richardson coming off the bench has some real postseason juice.
It’s a lot to pay, and the Heat are going to hope that having Lillard and his representation leaning on Portland from their end will allow a deal to happen for a smaller package. In the end, however, if this is what it takes to trade for Damian Lillard the Heat should pull the trigger and make a run at championship glory.