Grade the trades: 3-team ideas to get Damian Lillard from Blazers to Heat

Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images)
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers (Photo by Soobum Im/Getty Images) /
1 of 3

The NBA world flipped upside down, or at least the 2023 offseason did, when Damian Lillard asked the Portland Trail Blazers for a trade on July 1.

Shortly after, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that Lillard’s preferred destination was the Miami Heat.

The problem, however, is that Miami has less to offer Portland than just about any NBA team that would entertain the idea of bringing Dame aboard. To make matters more difficult for the Heat, the Blazers reportedly have little interest in Tyler Herro, Miami’s 23-year-old guard and the 2022 NBA Sixth Man of the Year who would be the logical centerpiece of any trade.

Herro’s redundancy with Portland’s current crop of guards and the fact that he’s about to enter the first year of a four-year, $120 million deal makes him unattractive to Rip City. The Blazers already have Anfernee Simons to play the role Herro would fill as a scorer and secondary playmaker, except Simons has put up better numbers thus far in his career, is on a more team-friendly contract, and is only a year older.

A Damian Lillard trade to the Miami Heat would require a third team

This would necessitate at least one more team to join the deal, almost certainly as a landing spot for Herro.

Disclaimer: Finding such a trade is not easy.

Any franchise that would bring Herro aboard must be in need of a scorer and playmaker in the backcourt. Herro is 6-foot-5 with legitimate combo-guard skills and, again, is only 23 years old.

Yes, he’s about to kick off an expensive four-year contract, but for a player of Herro’s caliber, it’s not an exorbitant, cap-killing deal. His abilities as a player are already becoming undervalued simply because Portland doesn’t have use for him as it leans into a rebuild around young guards in Simons, Scoot Henderson, and Shaedon Sharpe.

Which teams are looking for a player like Herro and would be willing to jump into a Blazers-Heat deal for Lillard as the savior of a potential league-altering trade?

Here are a pair of three-team ideas that could get Lillard to his preferred landing spot, the Blazers a fair package in exchange for one of the best players in the league, and a third team in need of a player of Herro’s caliber the right compensation for taking the young guard and his long-term contract.