Grading the trade for the Miami Heat
This would arguably be the biggest trade in the history of the Miami Heat. Adding a player of Damian Lillard's caliber is astronomical, partially because the Heat are just coming off an NBA Finals appearance as an 8th seed.
Lillard would provide the Heat with a third star next to Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. Additionally, the Heat would add veterans Reggie Bullock and Javale McGee to an already veteran-laden squad. Bullock provides additional floor-spacing, while McGee provides a rim-running center to backup Adebayo after losing Cody Zeller in free agency.
Although Butler and Adebayo are stars, they aren't the best shooters. Butler is fantastic in the mid-range, but he doesn't prefer shooting it from distance, as he attempted less than three 3-pointers per game last season. As for Adebayo, besides his occasional mid-range pull-up, he prefers to do his damage in the paint. Lillard automatically makes any team's 3-point shooting better.
With this trade, the Heat would have numerous assets going out. The biggest loss would be Tyler Herro, the 23-year-old shot creator coming off two consecutive 20-point-per-game seasons. The subtraction of Kyle Lowry will sting a bit, but Lowry is on the decline at 37 years old and owed $29 million this upcoming season.
Most NBA fans witnessed Caleb Martin excel in the NBA Conference Finals against the Celtics. This sudden ascension certainly raised his stock, as he looks like a starting wing in the NBA. Finally, Nikola Jovic would be headed out. He didn't get too much time with the Heat, but the Heat did spend a first-rounder on him in the 2022 draft.
Aside from the players, Miami would certainly lose substantial draft capital. In this hypothetical deal, the Heat would be sending two unprotected first-rounders, one first-round pick swap, additional second-rounders to Portland, and one second-rounder to Dallas.
Potential starting lineup: Damian Lillard, Josh Richardson, Jimmy Butler, Kevin Love, Bam Adebayo
Miami gets an A- for this trade. Acquiring Lillard adds to an already dangerous Miami Heat team. The reason this trade makes sense is that the Heat are an older team. They entered the 2022-23 team as the second oldest in the NBA.
The only downfall is that the Heat are mortgaging their future for a soon-to-be 33-year-old superstar. Nevertheless, the goal is the win a championship. And, with this addition, the Heat are in a prime position to contend in the East.