NBA Trades: Is this the deal that finally sends Damian Lillard to Miami?

Damian Lillard, the Portland Trail Blazers drives past Caleb Martin #16 of the Miami Heat (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images)
Damian Lillard, the Portland Trail Blazers drives past Caleb Martin #16 of the Miami Heat (Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images) /

Several weeks have passed since Portland Trailblazers star Damian Lillard requested to be traded to the Miami Heat. Since then, little appears to have changed. Dame and the Heat still want one another, while the Blazers have made it clear that they want top dollar for their star. Although there have been rumors that there would be a third team involved, a proposed trade by Greg Sylvander only involves the Blazers and Heat.

Sylvander provides the framework for a hypothetical trade that could get the Blazers to agree to move Lillard, though we’ll tweak the deal as needed to ensure that it works financially and for both teams.

NBA Trades: Could this be the deal that sends Lillard to Miami?

The biggest difference between this trade and others, aside from not involving a third team, is that it would involve the Heat keeping Herro, trading Martin, and acquiring Nurkic. That would certainly be interesting since it seems that Miami has alienated Herro in their pursuit of Lillard. He has also been seen as their best way to acquire another first-round pick to trade for Lillard. Keeping Herro might seem like a win for Miami, but he is starting a four-year, $128 million deal.

His roughly $30 million annual salary is quite the price tag for a polarizing player, and he’d be only the fourth highest-paid player on the Heat in this scenario. Meanwhile, Martin is making only $6.8 million next season and was a big reason why the Heat made the NBA Finals. Given the choice, they would probably prefer Martin, especially since it would be hard to play Lillard and Herro together given their defensive limitations.

Then there’s Nurkic, who, while a decent to good starter, would be unnecessary with Bam Adebayo already starting for Miami. They could possibly play together, but the Heat are likely better served to plug in and play cheap options at power forward and backup center.

For the Blazers, the highlights of Sylvander’s trade proposal would be receiving two recent first-round picks in Jovic and Jacquez Jr., three first-rounders, and getting off of both Lillard and Nurkic’s deals. However, while Martin is a good player, neither he nor Herro makes much sense for the Blazers. Instead, a paired-down deal involving Lillard for Robinson, Lowry, Jovic, three firsts, and a pick swap would be a better trade.

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Overall, the idea of not having a third team involved could complicate things, but a direct trade between the two teams is possible. Even so, Miami would still have to cobble together a trade that appeals to Portland, and that is probably easier said than done.