Heat ready to compete regardless of what happens to Damian Lillard

Kyle Lowry #7, Caleb Martin #16, Bam Adebayo #13, Tyler Herro #14 and Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
Kyle Lowry #7, Caleb Martin #16, Bam Adebayo #13, Tyler Herro #14 and Jimmy Butler #22 of the Miami Heat(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /

Damian Lillard’s trade saga has dragged out for over a month and a once-imminent resolution could be in question. What we do know is that the season is getting closer and Miami might have to start the year with what it already has.

I’m here to tell you that’s not an issue.

Franchise superstar Jimmy Butler has proven himself a generational playoff performer under the mastermind of Erik Spoelstra; Bam Adebayo is a defensive cornerstone; and Tyler Herro keeps progressing as a solid combo guard. This trio is the foundation that took Miami to three Eastern Conference finals and two NBA Finals in the last four seasons.

However, there’s a belief that the Heat are still missing a piece to get over the hump. That’s why every disgruntled and available star in linked to Miami.

This includes Lillard, who requested a trade in early July and has indicated that he wants to play for the Heat, and that Miami is his only desired destination. But a deal isn’t that simple, and talks between the Heat and Blazers have reportedly stalled.

This reshaped roster will have to prove itself, at least for a few months if a Lillard trade cannot be completed before the start of the season.

Gabe Vincent and Max Strus decided to leave in free agency, joining the Los Angeles Lakers and the Cleveland Cavaliers, respectively. Their roles will likely be filled by Tyler Herro, who missed the playoffs with a hand injury, former Miami draft pick Josh Richardson and rookie Jaime Jaquez Jr.

Cody Zeller will be replaced as Adebayo’s backup by Thomas Bryant, who has an interesting offensive game and might progress on the other end with the Heat’s famous development program.

If Portland agrees on a deal closer to the February trade deadline, the roster will again be overhauled mid-season. Ask the Suns how easy that is, even when brining in a bona fide star.

Still, the Heat have grown accustomed to extracting all the potential of every roster its had. Even if a mega trade doesn’t happen for a few more months, the Heat have enough to compete. Lillard or no Lillard, the Heat are ready to make noise again.

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