Damian Lillard is now a member of a contender in the Eastern Conference, and perhaps surprisingly, that team isn’t the Miami Heat. Despite Lillard initially wanting the Portland Trail Blazers to send him to South Beach, he’s now a member of the Milwaukee Bucks as part of a three-team deal that also included the Phoenix Suns.
We learned in the aftermath of the deal that Lillard’s camp became open to the idea of playing in Milwaukee recently, and both he and Giannis Antetokounmpo have expressed their admiration for one another in the past. But usually in these situations, stars get what they wanted from the jump, and Lillard did not get the move to Miami that he coveted.
In a new piece by Sam Amick and Shams Charania of The Athletic, we learned a bit about how serious the Blazers were in their early talks with the Heat. Basically, Portland used the tried and true method of asking for guys they would never, under any circumstances, get.
The Blazers and Heat had multiple conversations in July, but the sides never engaged in substantive negotiations, according to those sources. In an initial call, the Blazers asked the Heat for Jimmy Butler or Bam Adebayo. The Heat came to believe that the Blazers had little to no interest in engaging in a deal with them, and as much as Lillard and Goodwin wished that the Blazers would attempt to satisfy the seven-time All-Star’s wish, Portland refused.
There is obviously no universe in which the Heat would consider trading either of those guys for Lillard, which is clear to anyone. We’ll have to see if Miami tries to do anything else now that Lillard is no longer on the table for them, and no matter what they choose, it’s a pretty safe assumption that things will be built around Adebayo and Butler going forward.