Amidst the standstill between the Miami Heat and the Portland Trail Blazers, Damian Lillard to South Beach seems destined to happen. The latest development in the Dame-to-Heat trade saga is that there is no development. Both sides are apparently not engaging with each other and there is no momentum on a deal going down.
Nonetheless, Lillard remains adamant that he only wants to go to Miami. This, in turn, has dried up the trade market for the Blazers star. Still, coming off an unlikely, yet impressive, NBA Finals run, the Heat are in the position to make a big trade that could put them over the top and give them a better chance of winning their first title in over a decade.
With that said, here are two (including one obvious) way-too-early trades the Heat must pull off in the 2023-24 NBA season.
Miami Heat Receive: Damian Lillard
Portland Trail Blazers Receive: Tyler Herro, Jaime Jaquez Jr., Caleb Martin, Nikola Jovic, Duncan Robinson, and whatever draft picks they can give
Let’s begin with the obvious one. Lillard to Miami makes a lot of sense and everybody knows it. Heck, even NBA 2K already has Dame to the Heat programmed into its system.
Will we finally see Damian Lillard in the Miami Heat The 2K audio lines will blow your mind if we transfer him to Miami
— NBA 2K24 Community (@nba2kcmty) September 13, 2023
Lillard could be the piece that propels the Heat to the promised land — a place they’ve been trying to break through over the last four seasons since Jimmy Butler arrived. It became clear during the 2023 NBA Finals that Miami lacked a legitimate shot creator and playmaker who could alleviate some of the heavy offensive load off Butler.
That’s why Miami must go all in to acquire Lillard. According to Sam Amico of Hoops Wire, they are reportedly unwilling to include Caleb Martin in a package for the Blazers star. But they should do everything they can to land Dame.
Sure, the 6-foot-5 wing did have an impressive playoffs. The Heat wouldn’t get to the Finals if he didn’t perform the way he did, especially in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals versus the Boston Celtics, where he led the team with 26 points and 10 rebounds.
But this is for all the marbles. This is their championship window with Butler already heading into his mid-30s. Having a proven superstar like Lillard incredibly increases their chances of lifting the Larry O’Brien trophy than a role player like Martin.
Considering Tyler Herro (injured) and Nikola Jovic (not in the rotation) weren’t really key pieces in the Heat’s run to the Finals, they are essentially replacing Lillard with Martin and Duncan Robinson.
This Damian Lillard trade saga could potentially extend into the season. Miami must stay patient and stay the course until Portland budges and accepts whatever deal it has to offer.
Miami Heat Receive: Pascal Siakam
Toronto Raptors Receive: Tyler Herro, Jaime Jaquez Jr., Duncan Robinson, protected first round picks in 2028 and 2030
If the Lillard deal fails to materialize in any shape or form, Miami should go for Plan B. That Plan B is acquiring Pascal Siakam from the Toronto Raptors. Siakam is no Damian Lillard. But the man is a proven All-Star and All-NBA caliber player.
With Siakam, the Heat will get also get to fill in a need at power forward. Miami didn’t have a true big man to pair with Bam Adebayo in the frontcourt. He also gives them a solid inside threat with his ability to score in the post. Siakam has also proven to be a solid playmaker at his position, as evidenced by his career-best assist average last season. In addition, the Heat reunite Cameroonian with his former Raptors teammate Kyle Lowry, whom he won a title with in 2019.
He just came off his best season for the Raptors with averages of 24.2 points (a career-high), 7.8 rebounds, and 5.8 assists. However, Toronto could look to usher in a new era, especially after parting ways with NBA champion coach Nick Nurse and the departure of Fred VanVleet in the offseason. It makes sense for them to move on from Siakam as well.
Siakam has remained adamant that he wants to stick in Toronto. But he doesn’t really have control whether Masai Ujiri still sees him as a part of the program moving forward. They might be better suited continuing to build around 2021 Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes as they also incorporate rookie Gradey Dick into their young core.
Similar with the Lillard deal, they really only give up Duncan Robinson from their 2023 NBA Playoffs rotation in this trade to land Siakam.
The pieces Miami is giving up may seem much, but Pascal Siakam is a legitimate star worth trading for.
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