Following an uneventful 2018 NBA Draft, here’s a four-team mega-deal that would see All-Star point guard Damian Lillard land with the Miami Heat.
So entering a summer with already $117.3 million owed next season to just nine players, managing to find a way to improve their roster without exceeding the luxury tax is going to be an extremely difficult task for team president Pat Riley and his front office.
Following their draft inactivity, Riley stated the following:
“We’re up against the tax. We all know what the accounting situation is with us….How are we going to improve? It’s going to be from within or the possibility of some transaction that might happen. It’s not going to be easy. But to answer your question, I think yes, this could be – not a passive summer – but it might not be the kind of summer that you may think that something big can happen from that standpoint.”
You know what time it was. Highlights from @dame_lillard’s 50-point night and Portland’s 18-point victory in Sacramento.
This being the case, it’s highly unlikely the Heat will have the means to target a significant free agent without some enormous work being done to alter the payroll. However, Riley did allude to the possibility of a trade being made.
One significant name that has been raised as a possible target is Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers. Despite the Blazers reaching the postseason for the fifth year in a row, they were once again wildly unsuccessful, getting swept by the New Orleans Pelicans despite having home court advantage.
While he had a career-best season culminating in selection to the All-NBA First Team, Lillard had a forgettable series, averaging 18.5 points per game on just 35.2 percent shooting from the field. So naturally, after such a disappointing end to the season, onlookers were wondering if this is the time to break up a Blazers core that had been together for a number of seasons.
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One outspoken onlooker was Stephen A. Smith off ESPN, who stated the following on First Take in a conversation with Lillard’s backcourt teammate, C.J. McCollum:
“To me, y’all like a better version of the [Washington] Wizards, with John Wall and Bradley Beal. Y’all can ball, but what you do together you need help and you can’t get that help without sacrificing one of y’all to do it, because know one else around you has enough value to get you the pieces that you need to get over the competition that you’re going to tho against.”
While McCollum is younger, and has been exceptional in averaging at least 20 points per game for the past three seasons, Lillard is the Blazer for whom the franchise can garner the most in return. Despite standing just 6’3″ and not being renowned his defensive prowess, Lillard is a genuine go-to scorer whose offensive game continues to evolve every season.
So with the craziness of the free agency period fast approaching, here’s a blockbuster four-team the Heat could facilitate in order to acquire Lillard.