Bradley Beal is now a member of the Suns, as the Wizards finally traded their longtime star guard to Phoenix for Chris Paul, Landry Shamet, pick trades and a handful of second-rounders.
The deal kicks off a draft week that could see significant movement across the league, with just about every team picking after Spurs are seemingly willing to part ways with their pick at the right price. Charlotte looks more likely to make the No. 2 pick than not, as they should be upset by an offer to give up that position, but Portland has plenty of motivation to leave the No. 3 pick. The problem for the Blazers is that they need to find a team willing to part ways with an impact veteran for this pick, and the right offer will likely hinge on whether Scoot Henderson is available.
If they can’t find a trade for that No. 3 pick and fail to get the kind of help they need to become a contender, it’s possible that Damian Lillard will join Beal in finally asking for a trade. That’s apparently what the Miami Heat are banking on, as they were the other reported finalist for Beal, but strangely chose not to try and beat the offer made by the Suns, which didn’t even include a real pick. first-rounder returning to Washington. . According to Chris Haynes, Miami refused to walk away from a relatively low offer because they have an “honest belief” that Lillard might be available.
Miami is focused on Portland superstar Damian Lillard with the sincere belief that it could be the offseason the veteran guard is looking for a change of scenery, league sources say @NBAonTNT, @Laundress report.
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) June 18, 2023
Now, we’ve heard of teams wanting to take Lillard to the trade market for years, but whenever a report on Lillard comes from Haynes in particular, it’s remarkable. Haynes is extremely close to Lillard — like, in each other’s marriages — and while this is a report on Heat’s interest in the star, it’s hard not to feel like Haynes has unique insight into how Lillard feels in private. Publicly, Lillard continues to push back against the idea that he’ll ask, but others close to him, like CJ McCollum, seem to believe it’s a more real chance this summer than ever before.
While Miami would be near the top of Lillard’s wish list, the Blazers wouldn’t have to send him to his absolute favorite destination if there was better transportation to be had. Washington was at the mercy of Beal and his no-trade clause, but Lillard doesn’t possess the same power to totally dictate where he goes, though Portland would likely seek an out-of-court settlement with all parties. As such, Miami would have a big hurdle to clear by making a strong enough bid to get Lillard, who would command a lot more than Washington got for Beal.
We’ll find out on Thursday exactly which direction the Blazers are going and whether or not the league will suddenly be on Dame Watch.