Sports

Damian Lillard Joining "Big 3 2.0" in Miami Seems Impossible

Damian Lillard, keeping busy.
Damian Lillard, keeping busy. Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images
If we were to rank subjects by interest, in this country, at least, the NBA offseason would likely place ahead of many sports. The NBA offseason is so huge that many times it doesn't even wait for the season to end before it ramps up the rumor machine.

Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Damian Lillard portion of the NBA offseason show. Co-starring the Miami Heat, of course. Because it wouldn't be an offseason rumor if Pat Riley wasn't involved.
If there's one thing Heat fans know is guaranteed, it's Pat Riley lurking in the shadows, waiting to acquire a disgruntled NBA star. That's what he does. That's how he builds a champion.

He did it with Alonzo Mourning. He did it with Shaquille O'Neal. He did it with LeBron James. He did it most recently with Jimmy Butler. And, if the Heat is to win another title anytime soon, he will do it again.

Riley has formed his superteams in a multitude of ways. Whether it be in free agency, via trade, or via forced trade, big names have always wound up in Miami.


Acquiring Damian Lillard would, arguably, be Riley's greatest feat. It sounds downright impossible looking at the details. Miami simply has little to send Portland's way if the deal doesn't include Bam Adebayo or Jimmy Butler.
Most Heat fans assume Bam is untouchable on the trade market, and they should. Not only because of the potential he brings to the table as a player who turned 24 on Sunday, but because of everything else Miami has on the roster behind him. Which, when it comes to big men, is almost nothing. A team of Jimmy Butler and Damian Lillard, plus what would be left following the trade, would get the Heat nowhere fast. Those are just the facts.

The Heat will likely rely on Lillard pinpointing Miami as his desired destination and forcing Portland to work out a deal that wouldn't be their best, but the best the front office can manage under the circumstances. That would mean Tyler Herro, Precious Achiuwa, KZ Okpala, and multiple first-round picks in return for Lillard. It could also, theoretically, include a sign-and-trade for Duncan Robinson, which would obviously be more complicated.
In the end, Heat fans shouldn't get their hopes up. Not unless they're prepared to watch the Heat trade away Bam Adebayo. There are too many teams that have too much more to offer the Trailblazers in a deal for Lillard, even if he does force his way out of Portland.

That being said, as insane as it may seem, stay tuned. We've seen Pat Riley accomplish crazier far-fetched deals before. 
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Ryan Yousefi is a freelance writer for Miami New Times, a lover of sports, and an expert consumer of craft beer and pho. Hanley Ramirez once stole a baseball from him and to this day still owes him $10.
Contact: Ryan Yousefi