The Miami Heat are a team that made the NBA Finals during the 2019-20 season behind the performances of their two All-Stars, Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. While the duo had a great run to the Finals during the NBA bubble, they were quickly eliminated in the first round by the Milwaukee Bucks this season. While the Bucks were clearly a better team, that doesn't mean that the Miami Heat won't be able to compete in the future.
Jimmy Butler will be 32 next season, and it could be wise to take advantage of his prime. Butler averaged 21.5 PPG, 6.9 RPG, and 7.1 APG this season, and it is clear that he had a very good regular season. An extra piece could help the Miami Heat get back to the Finals, and potentially win it all.
Damian Lillard is a player that they could potentially target. If Lillard is indeed interested in the idea of playing with Bam Adebayo, there are potential ways for the Miami Heat to acquire him in a trade. Here is a framework for a trade package:
Miami Heat Receive: Damian Lillard
Portland Trail Blazers Receive: Tyler Herro, Kendrick Nunn (sign and trade), Duncan Robinson (sign and trade), KZ Okpala, Precious Achiuwa, 2026 first-round pick, 2028 first-round pick, 2028 second-round pick
The Portland Trail Blazers Start A Rebuild
Let's get this clear: Damian Lillard hasn't asked out of Portland yet and has denied reports that suggested him requesting a trade was imminent. However, a trade request could be a future possibility. If he does request a trade, the Trail Blazers would likely seek a package of young players and picks in order to kick start a rebuild, as they are extremely unlikely to be contenders without Lillard's presence. The Miami Heat could offer a solid combination of both.
Tyler Herro and Kendrick Nunn are both solid ballhandlers and shot creators. While Tyler Herro hasn't become a star this season, he has still shown that he is a solid shooter who has the ability to get his own if need be. Kendrick Nunn is a capable scorer and has improved his efficiency from his rookie season, though his numbers are similar. Duncan Robinson is a great sharpshooter who won 40.8% from beyond the arc this season. Nunn and Robinson accepting a sign and trade would be crucial, but it seems as though bigger roles on a rebuilding Trail Blazers deal could make the option appealing.
KZ Okpala and Precious Achiuwa would be developmental projects who could pay off in the future. Future draft compensation would include two first-round draft picks, as well as second-round pick. While there would likely be better packages for Damian Lillard out there, though if Lillard were to request the Miami Heat specifically, this would be a competitive offer.
The Miami Heat Create A Big Three
Damian Lillard's best attribute is his long-range shooting and offensive output, and that is exactly what the Miami Heat need. A team with two stars who aren't elite shooters needs some elite spacing, and that is what Damian Lillard would provide. Damian Lillard's ability to stretch the floor with his shooting would create more space for Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo at the rim.
The Heat clearly needed a go-to scorer for when defenses loaded up on Jimmy Butler, and it is obvious that Damian Lillard could be that player. With the Portland Trail Blazers, Damian Lillard has had to orchestrate the entirety of his team's offense, and he couldn't do anything about the rest of the team's abysmal defense as a small guard. However, on the Miami Heat, Lillard would have a tough defensive squad that can also get buckets, and his playmaking load will likely be reduced due to Butler's abilities as a facilitator. That would allow him to worry about his strength, which is scoring.
Damian Lillard, Bam Adebayo, and Jimmy Butler would certainly be a fearsome big three. While the Brooklyn Nets have managed to build a superteam in Brooklyn and will be the likely favorites next season, this trade scenario could move the Miami Heat closer to their level.