NBA Rumors: Is Giannis standing in the way of a Damian Lillard to Miami trade?

Giannis Antetokounmpo (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Giannis Antetokounmpo (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images) /

NBA Rumors: Is it realistic to believe that Giannis Antetokounmpo could be standing in the way of a Damian Lillard trade to Miami?

All summer long, it’s been the Damian Lillard trade watch game. On the first full day of free agency, it was reported that Lillard had officially demanded a trade and that he wanted the Portland Trail Blazers to the Miami Heat. Almost three months to the day, with the start of training camp now less than a week away, Lillard is still a member of the Blazers.

Even though trade talks with teams have gained traction over the last week, there’s no guarantee that Lillard will be moved before he has to report to camp. Much less a trade to his preferred destination. Nevertheless, there’s still a little hope that it could get done.

But if there’s one added narrative that could complicate this entire process all the more, it’s the possibility that Giannis Antetokounmpo could be laying the groundwork for his exit from the Milwaukee Bucks. Giannis has dropped hints all summer long and the reporting surrounding the superstar has echoed those sentiments.

Whether Giannis ends up leaving in 2025 remains to be seen, but even the threat of it has teams around the league keeping an eye on the potential situation that may be unfolding in Milwaukee. One team that is keeping a close eye on the situation is the Heat, and you can’t help but wonder if that could be complicating their current pursuit of Lillard.

Why the Giannis situation could be impacting the Lillard trade saga for the Miami Heat

If the Heat believes it has any shot at landing Giannis, there’s no question that it would impact their thought process with Lillard. If they burn all their assets in their pursuit of Lillard, they would basically be eliminating themselves for a potential pursuit of Giannis.

I suppose the question the Heatm just ask themselves is if they’re willing to take the Lillard box right now or if they’d much rather have the mystery box that could end up being Giannis in a couple of years.

It’s important to remember that the Heat have been burned by this thought process in the past. And if Miami can acquire Lillard by emptying their asset clip, it may be time to go down that path. Even if the Heat has a shot at Giannis, they’ll have to do some serious salary cap gymnastics to sign him outright in free agency and would get outbid if the Bucks shop him via trade.

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Maybe this is all negotiating on the part of the Heat. If so, this is a bold move they’re taking. How will it all play out in the long run? We shall see.