Windhorst on Damian Lillard: Put Heat 'On the List' if Blazers Trade Star in FA

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVApril 26, 2023

PORTLAND, OREGON - MARCH 27: Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers reacts to a call during the second quarter against the New Orleans Pelicans at Moda Center on March 27, 2023 in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Amanda Loman/Getty Images)
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The Miami Heat are reportedly looking to get Jimmy Butler some help.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN said the Heat are "on the cusp" of making a blockbuster move for a superstar, with Damian Lillard being a prominent target.

"I think the Heat are on the cusp of looking for another star maneuver. I would put them on the list for Dame Lillard if Dame ends up getting traded," Windhorst said on the Hoop Collective podcast (24:45 mark).

"If he goes to market, I think the Heat are on that list. I don't know if they have enough. A lot of their offer would be built around Tyler Herro, who's just injured. But I suspect, I don't know for sure, just to be clear, I don't know for sure that they would offer him, but I would suspect that that would be the type of thing, that and draft picks."

Lillard has been a fixture in trade rumors for several years, with the All-Star guard consistently saying he wants to remain in Portland.

That said, the Blazers' inability to field a competitive team has put cracks in the relationship. Lillard has been more vocal in recent months about his lack of desire to play through a rebuilding phase.

"That's not what I'm interested in," Lillard told reporters in March. "That's what the frustrating part of it is. Talking about what's gonna happen next season. And us 'building.' That's not what I'm here to do, especially at this stage of my career."

The Blazers have missed the postseason each of the last two seasons and finished under .500 in three of the last four. Lillard has been limited to 87 games in the last two years, though a chunk of his missed games in 2022-23 came at the end of the season when Portland was out of playoff contention.

The Heat are up 3-1 on the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks in the opening round of the playoffs and have a history of being a haven for veteran players. Butler has taken on a herculean task of pushing Miami in the playoffs during his tenure with the franchise but is 33 years old and could use some help from a co-star willing to shoulder the load.

It's unlikely the Blazers would part with Lillard for a package centered around Tyler Herro, a good but flawed young player. There would almost certainly be a better young player bandied about in offers if Lillard became available.