Grade the Trade idea: Mavericks land defensive ace in Damian Lillard blockbuster

Portland Trail Blazers v Los Angeles Lakers
Portland Trail Blazers v Los Angeles Lakers / Kevork Djansezian/GettyImages
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Dallas helps facilitate a three-team deal, with Damian Lillard heading to South Beach

Damian Lillard has made it clear that he prefers to play in Miami. However, Portland is reportedly not keen on sending Lillard to his preferred destination. This is understandable, as Miami does not have many young players to send out, something Portland is looking for.

However, when a player requests a trade to a specific destination, it hurts the team's bargaining power. The Heat know Lillard prefers Miami, so the assets they would give up may not be as fruitful if he had not requested a trade.

Furthermore, Miami must send out Kyle Lowry, as his contract is needed to match Lillard's contract. Adding the Mavs in this potential scenario alleviates some of Portland's concerns. Dallas would take on Lowry while also shedding multi-year agreements in this hypothetical trade.

Heat trade for Lillard, Mavs help facilitate

** Sign-and-trade: Blazers' Matisse Thybulle agrees to a 3-year $24 million contract in order to be traded to Dallas

For all things considered, Miami technically cannot trade their 2024 first-round pick due to the Steiepen Rule, which prohibits teams from trading away consecutive first-rounders. So, Miami must convince Oklahoma City to change its conditional 2025 pick owed to the Thunder to a 2026 unconditional pick.

Additionally, I used the vague term "future second-round picks." Miami has multiple second-round picks through 2023, but more picks would likely be sent out to facilitate such a deal. Just take a look at how many second-rounders the Wizards received in the Bradley Beal trade.

As briefly discussed above, the trade would be convoluted. This is necessary for this trade to come to fruition. Let's unpack this three-team deal that revolves around Lillard to Miami and Tyler Herro to Portland, with Dallas as a facilitator.

Miami would receive Lillard from Portland, then Reggie Bullock, and Javale McGee from Dallas. Lillard is the centerpiece of this trade. Receiving a player of Lillard's caliber means sending out any combination of players or picks is feasible to facilitate a trade involving a superstar in Lillard.

Portland would receive Tyler Herro, Nikola Jovic, Richaun Holmes, Caleb Martin, and a bevy of first and second-round draft picks. Portland's boxes are checked here. The young players they receive are Herro, Jovic, and Martin. They also are ridding themselves of nearly $2 million in cap space. And most importantly, Portland adds a lot of draft capital.

Finally, Dallas would receive Kyle Lowry, Matisse Thybulle, and a few second-round picks from Miami. A sign-and-trade would occur here, as Thybulle is a restricted free agent. In this scenario, Thybulle would agree to a 3-year, $24 million contract.

Next, we will take a look at grades for Miami, Portland, and Dallas while further discussing what this trade means for each team.