While Damian Lillard to Miami trade talks have picked up steam, with rumors everywhere, there hasn’t been as much direct contact between Portland and Miami as one might think. That’s because Portland GM Joe Cronin knows what Miami has to offer, and he doesn’t love it, so he is trying to find another trade partner — maybe Toronto or Chicago, although league sources NBC Sports spoke with are skeptical either of those pull the trigger — or put together a three- or four-team trade that brings him picks and a player he does want. Such as maybe the Suns’ Deandre Ayton. If the Blazers put together a multi-team deal, they can just present it to the Heat as done (and Miami will very likely jump at it, they want Lillard).
Part of a multi-team deal is finding a home for Tyler Herro, the former Sixth Man of the Year about to start a four-year, $120 million contract extension. (Portland doesn’t want him because they already have Anfernee Simons, a similar player they like better.) Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports said four teams — Brooklyn, Utah, Chicago and Charlotte — are the teams to watch with Herro. Fischer adds Portland may need to accept that Miami’s offer is the best one on the table (if Miami puts its best offer out there, which they may not have done to this point).
If Portland ultimately does business with Miami, the Jazz — as well as the Bulls, Hornets and Nets — are considered a team interested in landing Tyler Herro from the Heat, sources said. And there are plenty of executives who’d rather take Miami’s best package, if the Heat are so willing, that could include Herro and Nikola Jovic to go with Jaquez, Caleb Martin and more.
Herro’s shooting and secondary playmaking next to LaMelo Ball in Charlotte would be a good fit (if you surround that pair with defenders because they are not). That’s especially true considering nobody knows what happens long term with Miles Bridges in Charlotte. How aggressive the new ownership wants to be will play a role in how hard the Hornets go to make this happen.
Brooklyn and Utah have interesting collections of young players and Herro fits that mold, providing versatility. Plus, Utah’s Danny Ainge always seems to find his way into deals like this (and come out a winner). Chicago is… Chicago. Herro makes them better, but who knows what the long-term plan is there.
Most league sources NBC Sports has spoken with expect Lillard to end up in Miami in a multi-team deal, whatever form that finally takes. That form will shake out over the next couple of weeks, but the momentum is there for a deal to get done before media days for most teams on Oct. 2.