The Blazers Apparently Will ‘Look Well Beyond’ The Heat To Get A ‘Star-Level Return’ For Damian Lillard

A bombshell dropped in the world of basketball on Saturday afternoon. Less than 24 hours into the opening of the NBA’s free agency period, Damian Lillard informed the Portland Trail Blazers that he would like a trade. A number of teams are unsurprisingly interested in acquiring his services, but reports indicate that Lillard has his eyes set on one team: the Miami Heat.

Lillard has said in the past that he’d like to be in Miami and play with Bam Adebayo, with whom he is close, and seeing as how he wants to compete for a championship, it would make sense that he’d be interested in joining a team that made it to the NBA Finals last year. The issue that Lillard could theoretically face here is that Portland doesn’t necessarily have to trade Lillard to Miami, as his contract doesn’t have a no-trade clause.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, there’s a sense that the Blazers’ front office is willing to look around and do what they can do to land a “star-level return” for the best player in franchise history. That, of course, means there’s no guarantee that Lillard would get a move to the Heat.

An issue that the Heat might end up needing to sort out in all of this is that the most appealing player who could be moved here is Tyler Herro, and he doesn’t quite fit in alongside Portland’s young core of Scoot Henderson, Shaedon Sharpe, and Anfernee Simons, assuming that the Blazers would keep all three of them going forward. That’s not an impossible situation to remedy — Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report noted that a deal between the two teams would likely need a third team, and while that doesn’t necessarily mean it would be to accommodate Herro, it’s easy to see why he might not be a fit in Portland. But regardless, while it’d make sense if the Blazers don’t want to do wrong by Lillard after all he’s done for the team, this is a situation where the best outcome for the team and the best outcome for the player don’t fully align with one another.