The Miami Heat and Portland Trail Blazers could involve multiple teams in a Damian Lillard deal, according to multiple reports.
Following months of little contact between the Miami Heat and Portland Trail Blazers, talks of a Damian Lillard trade appear to have picked up this week.
According to multiple reports, the Blazers have begun scanning the league for suitable trade packages in exchange for Lillard, the seven-time All-Star who demanded a trade to Miami on July 1. Those frameworks could involve multiple teams.
Sources told Danny Marang, a sports radio host in Portland, that “there are ongoing discussions for a deal involving trading Damian Lillard before camp is underway October 2.”
The Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson added in a tweet, “After no contact with the Heat for weeks, the Blazers are now taking Lillard conversations seriously. Heat has patiently waited, knowing a Lillard trade is a clear avenue to take them to another level.”
Among the developments could be the involvement of multiple teams in a deal. The Blazers have made it known that they want more in return for Lillard than the Heat’s speculative offer, which could include Tyler Herro, Kyle Lowry and multiple first-round picks.
There’s also the belief that Portland would prefer not to add another guard in a trade for Lillard. Having drafted Scoot Henderson with the No. 3 pick, the Blazers have little need to add Herro to a crowded backcourt that already includes Henderson, Anfernee Simons and Shaedon Sharpe.
While more complicated, including multiple teams in the deal could potentially net the Blazers the kind of assets they are looking for. According to PHNX Sports’ Gerald Bourguet, teams like the Philadelphia 76ers, Chicago Bulls, Toronto Raptors and Phoenix Suns have discussed being involved in a deal.
The Portland Trail Blazers are canvassing the market for trade offers for Damian Lillard, but they have yet to find a deal better than the Miami Heat's.
Phoenix’s participation could put Deandre Ayton into play. There may be concerns in Phoenix about Ayton’s willingness to take a lesser role on a star-studded team that includes Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and the newly-acquired Bradley Beal, as well as his ability to anchor new coach Frank Vogel’s defense. The Suns have reportedly explored trading the 25-year-old center for months.
The Blazers appear to be a logical landing spot since Ayton could give them a long-term solution in the frontcourt to pair with their young guards.
The start of training camp had always been a logical deadline for a Lillard trade. Though Portland doesn’t have to trade Lillard by then, the level of urgency had been expected to ramp up as the start of the season got closer.