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The Miami Heat are better off without Damian Lillard



With the Milwaukee Bucks being the team that landed star point guard Damian Lillard in a three-way trade, there’s one team that will certainly feel the effects of not landing the player, or will they?


The Miami Heat, for the majority of the 2023 NBA offseason, were the frontrunners to land Lillard in a trade. Lillard had also stated that his first destination was Miami, which makes sense given that they made the NBA finals last season.


The Heat were rumored to have offered the Trailblazers Tyler Herro, 2 future first-round picks, and either Duncan Robinson or Kyle Lowry, which Portland ended up declining. To be honest, Portland declining that trade was probably the best thing to happen to Miami this offseason.


Without going into depth as to why Lillard wasn’t the right call for Miami, let’s take a look at how this trade looks on paper. The Heat offered the Trailblazers a 23-year-old all-star and two first-round picks for a 33-year-old Lillard who will more than likely start to regress soon and has been constantly injured the past three seasons.


He’s also shown that his leadership qualities have diminished considering that he has two teammates putting up 20 points a game and another teammate averaging a near double double. Despite that, the Trailblazers failed to even make the play-in, winning just 33 games in the 2022-23 regular season. So why would the Heat, who just made the NBA finals, and who have two all-stars not even in their primes yet, make this trade?


That reason may be that the Heat are looking to become permanent contenders and finally want to make a jump to an NBA championship, the problem with that is Lillard was not the guy to be able to do that anyway. There was one reason the Heat ended up losing the 2023 NBA finals, and it was Jamal Murray. Murray was able to average 21 points and 10 assists on 39% three-point shooting, purely because the Heat didn’t have a backcourt player who could legitimately guard him on defense.


So, the Heat lack backcourt defense, and their first thought is to trade for Damian Lillard? One of the worst point guard defenders in the league? Not an exaggeration. Lillard had a horrible defensive performance last year with a rating of 120.8, the 7th worst defensive rating in the entire NBA.


The Heat wanting to trade for Lillard does not make any sense, and they should be glad that the Trailblazers decided not to take them up on their offer. What they’re missing is what they’ll hopefully gain given that Herro and Bam are both getting closer to entering their primes, which means they should be practicing more and should be getting better. Ultimately, the Miami Heat are better off without Damian Lillard, and they do not need him.


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