Report: “Growing consensus” Damian Lillard will be member of Heat
For days, the hot rumor around the NBA had been Damian Lillard to the Toronto Raptors. League sources told NBC Sports the sides were seriously discussing frameworks, including an OG Anunoby-based deal (which could involve the Suns as a third team), but that the Raptors did not want to part with Scottie Barnes.
Those talks appear to be cooling down, with the well-connected Michael Grange of Sportsnet in Canada reporting the Miami Heat should be back on the front burner.
FWIW - growing consensus from around league that Miami will indeed be destination for Dame. We’ll see.— Michael Grange (@michaelgrange) September 27, 2023
The lack of the deal coming together is another sign things may not be close with Portland and Toronto. If Lillard were dealt to Toronto, he reportedly would bring his trade request with him and ask the Raptors to send him to the Heat. That has to dampen Toronto’s enthusiasm for the deal, even if they are willing to go through with it.
Reports have suggested limited conversations between the Heat and Raptors in the past couple of weeks, although that partially may be both sides knowing what the Heat are offering (and can offer).
Part of the issue is Portland wants as many Miami assets in a trade as they can get and the Heat have not put them all forward. The Heat could include two of their own first-round picks and can add a third by adjusting the protections on a pick owed to Oklahoma City. Tyler Herro would be in the deal with Kyle Lowry or Duncan Robinson added as salary filler, plus Miami can offer young players such as Nikola Jovic, Jaime Jaquez Jr. and Caleb Martin. (A three-team deal with the Suns is possible, where a player such as Caleb Martin is sent to Phoenix and Deandre Ayton ends up a Blazer.)
However, the Heat have reportedly not put all those assets on the table, and the Trail Blazers have been lukewarm on what the Heat offered. So Portland looked for another suitor and has danced a little with Toronto.
If Portland and Toronto cannot make it work, the Heat may be the only option for the Trail Blazers. They could drag this out into the season, but are the Trail Blazers willing to put up with the distraction that would be Damian Lillard in training camp (or the questions that would come even if he is not there)?
Media day for Portland, Miami and Toronto is next Monday, with training camp starting the next day.