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Heat’s Offseason Deemed A Failure If Damian Lillard Isn’t Added?



The Miami Heat were defeated in five games by the Denver Nuggets in the 2023 NBA Finals, and the Eastern Conference contender lost a few notable stars during free agency, with expectations of trading for Portland Trail Blazers veteran Damian Lillard.

Therefore, if Miami cannot trade for the seven-time All-Star, is the team’s offseason a failure? At the moment, the Toronto Raptors are in position to offer Portland a generous trade package for Lillard. So the clock is ticking. Miami could miss out on the chance to add Dame.

Former CBS Sports NBA writer Ethan Skolnick has kept in touch with a reporter close to Lillard’s agent.

“Toronto is a place that Dame would make it ugly. He didn’t mention Chicago. And he didn’t mention any other teams,” Skolnick said on the”5 on the Floor” podcast.

“He mentioned Toronto as a place that Dame would make it ugly. And I know for a fact, 100 percent, that this particular reporter has a great relationship with Dame’s agent and has for a very long time.”

Even if the Raptors can trade for Damian Lillard, it doesn’t mean the 11-year veteran wants to play for Toronto. Plus, NBA insider Marc Stein believes it has yet to be determined whether the Raptors are willing to go all in to trade for the California native.

“The Toronto Raptors have convinced numerous teams around the league that their interest in trading for Lillard is genuine,” he wrote.

“The uncertainty at this point stems more from gauging Toronto’s true willingness to push all the way forward with its Lillard pursuit when it’s believed that the All-Star guard, behind the scenes, remains so resistant to the idea of becoming a Raptor.”

Would the Miami Heat’s offseason be considered a disappointment if they cannot trade for Damian Lillard? Miami lost Gabe Vincent, Max Strus, and Victor Oladipo

During this offseason, the Heat made various additions and subtractions. In June, Victor Oladipo exercised his $9.45 million player option for the 2023-24 season before Miami traded him to the Oklahoma City Thunder, along with a 2029 second-round draft pick and a 2023 second-rounder for cash.

Centers Thomas Bryant (two-year, $5.37 million) and Orlando Robinson (two-year, $3.92 million) inked deals as well. Forward Kevin Love signed a two-year, $7.86 million contract, and guard Josh Richardson agreed to a two-year, $5.94 million deal.

Additionally, the Heat traded wing Max Strus to the Cleveland Cavaliers in a three-team sign-and-trade. Cleveland traded Cedi Osman and Lamar Stevens to the San Antonio Spurs; Miami traded a 2026 second-round pick to San Antonio; and the Spurs sent their 2027 second-rounder to the Heat.

Moreover, guard Gabe Vincent signed a three-year, $33 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers. Also, Heat veteran center Udonis Haslem announced his retirement from the NBA after a 20-year career.

Following Miami’s NBA Finals series loss to Denver, then-Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal named the Heat his preferred destination. On June 18, Beal was traded to the Phoenix Suns.

Perhaps Miami dodged a bullet by not trading for an injury-prone Beal. After all, he’s owed $207.7 million over the next four years. Likewise, Lillard is owed $216.2 million over the next four seasons as well.

If Miami fans had a say on this decision, they would probably take Lillard over Beal.

While the Heat still have Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro, next season could be quite a roller-coaster ride for them. Since Vincent and Strus are gone, Miami cannot afford to lose Butler or Herro to a serious injury next season.

Miami’s 2023-24 win total is set at 48.5. In the 2022-23 regular season, the Heat finished 44-38.

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Michael Malone to Make Changes to Bench – Basketball Insiders




Head coach, Michael Malone, was not happy with the Denver Nuggets after a 1-4 road trip. One key point he highlighted was the struggles of the second unit.


“I just told them,” Malone said. “Minutes, I’m gonna start playing different people. You just can’t go out there because you think you’re gonna play, and go out there and do nothing. You’ve gotta bring something to the party.

Malone also had this to say:

I thought Justin played pretty well,” Malone said. “So we’ll see. We’re going home. Very disappointing road trip. … That’s the challenge when you have so many young, unproven players off the bench. But we also have games to win, and that delicate balance is a tightrope. But we need to win, and I’m gonna play the guys that are gonna help us get a win.”

In terms of playing without a true point guard, Malone also added this:

We’re playing lineups out there with no point guard,” Malone said. “We probably had quite a few minutes of that tonight. … Reggie, I think, has done a really good job in place of Jamal. But just like if Nikola goes down, we don’t have another Nikola Jokic. We don’t have another Jamal Murray.

All in all, expect a different looking second unit as the Nuggets return home.

Michael Malone to Make Changes to Second Unit Following Disappointing Road Trip 

Other Players Who Could See Increased Playing Time 

As Michael Malone alluded to, Justin Holiday is a wing who could see extended playing time. He is a veteran who has been on many teams and his experience could be valuable for the younger players. Denver also has the likes of DeAndre Jordan and Hunter Tyson on their roster. Don’t be surprised if they get some time as the Nuggets look to rebound after their disappointing road trip.

It should also be noted that Malone stated the team is expecting Jamal Murray very soon as the month of November comes to an end. Remember, these are still the defending champions and with Nikola Jokic leading the way, they are still one of the most feared teams in the league. A couple hiccups in the road is not going to deter them from defending the crown.

Can Michael Malone and Company Right the Ship?

With Murray set to come back soon and Jokic playing at an extremely high level yet again, the Denver Nuggets should be more than okay. Remember, it was not until about mid December last season when they found their rhythm and truly solidified themselves as the top seed in the Western Conference. Denver has a history of hitting some bumps in the road to start their campaigns, so fans should not fret.

This is a core who has championship pedigree and has been together for awhile now. Jokic is looking like the MVP, Michael Porter is showing signs of growth in defensive areas, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is making a case for All-Defensive Team honors. Don’t expect the defending champions to be down and out for long.

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Lakers’ Rui Hachimura out at least a week after nasal fracture




Los Angeles Lakers forward Rui Hachimura underwent a procedure Friday to repair a nasal fracture, the team announced. Hachimura, 25, did not accompany the Lakers on their four-game trip, which starts in Cleveland tonight and continues through Philadelphia (Monday), Detroit (Wednesday), and Oklahoma City (Thursday).

The 6-foot-8 wing will be re-evaluated by team doctors in about a week, the Lakers said. Hachimura’s injury occurred late in the first quarter of Wednesday’s 104-101 loss to the Dallas Mavericks. Of course, he posted nine points, three rebounds, and one assist in 26 minutes off the bench.

Referring to a few NBA betting sites, the Los Angeles Lakers hold seventh-shortest odds to win this season’s 2024 championship. Sportsbooks are showing better odds for the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, Denver Nuggets, Phoenix Suns, Golden State Warriors, and Philadelphia 76ers.

Hachimura also suffered a concussion against the Sacramento Kings on Oct. 29 that led to him missing four games. Since his return, he has averaged 13.5 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 1.3 steals in his last eight games going into Wednesday’s loss to Dallas.

Through 12 appearances this season, Hachimura is averaging 11.8 points, 3.8 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 23.3 minutes per game. The Gonzaga product is shooting a career-best 50.5% from the floor, along with 42.9% from 3-point range and 78.6% at the foul line.

Los Angeles Lakers’ Rui Hachimura (nasal fracture) out at least a week, Gabe Vincent (knee) out indefinitely

In Los Angeles’ 128-94 win over the Houston Rockets on Nov. 8, the five-year veteran recorded season highs of 24 points and eight boards in 26 minutes as a reserve. Hachimura shot 10-of-14 (71.4%) form the field and drained two 3-pointers as well.

The 2023-24 Lakers have had quite the injury-riddled season. Starting forward Cam Reddish missed the Dallas matchup because of soreness in his left groin. Plus, forward Jarred Vanderbilt (heel bursitis) has yet to make his season debut, and guard Gabe Vincent (left knee swelling) has missed the last three weeks.

Additionally, Los Angeles continues to show LeBron James as probable on the injury report due to a left calf contusion, and Anthony Davis is listed as probable because of discomfort in his left hip.

“We just have to weather the storm,” Lakers coach Darvin Ham told Spectrum SportsNet’s Mike Trudell when asked how he plans to work around the injuries.

“We haven’t been whole yet, but I think the guys that have been out there and able to compete for us, they’ve done a phenomenal job,” Ham added.

“We’ve had some tough losses, some tough wins, some lopsided losses, some lopsided wins. So, it’s all a part of trying to figure out your group. We’ll continue watching film, doing our walkthroughs.

“Whenever we get a chance to practice, we’ll touch on different things and try to refortify ourselves. But again, the general things, ingredients you need to be successful, I see in our group: the selflessness, the togetherness, the competitive spirit. That’s all you can ask for at this point in the season. We’re laying a great foundation.”

The Lakers signed Hachimura to a three-year, $51 million contract extension in the offseason after they acquired him from the Washington Wizards in January.

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Miami Heat Not Interested in Zach LaVine – Basketball Insiders




It is no secret by now that the Bulls and Zach LaVine are not on the same page. As a result, the Zach LaVine trade sweepstakes have been been heating up in the past couple of weeks. There have been a few teams who have been mentioned in terms of the All-Star guard’s services. The main teams being brought up have been the Los Angeles Lakers, Philadelphia 76ers, and the Miami Heat. However, it now seems as if the Heat are not interested in trading for LaVine at all. They are content with the current makeup of their squad.

Miami Heat Reportedly Not Interested in Chicago Bulls Shooting Guard, Zach LaVine 

Heat Don’t Want to Part With Tyler Herro 

Any potential package centered around Zach LaVine from the Heat will likely require Tyler Herro. Much like the Damian Lillard situation. The Heat feel as if LaVine already has the same skillset as Herro, but on a more expensive contract. Plus, he is an older player. That still does not change the fact that Zach LaVine is still miles better than Herro, but Miami seems set on Herro’s services for the future.

The two-time All-Star this season is still averaging 22.3 points on an effective field goal percentage of 53.1 percent. Clearly, the Bulls shooting guard still has something left in the tank. Even if the team could acquire LaVine without giving up Tyler Herro, the Heat would have an extremely expensive squad. They would exceed the $172.6 million luxury tax line by about $3 million. With all of this in mind, it somewhat makes sense why the Heat have no interest in negotiating for the star high-flyer.

Other Potential Destinations for Zach LaVine 

While the Miami Heat are most likely out of the Zach LaVine sweepstakes, there are still a few squad around the NBA who would be extremely interested. Of course, the first team who comes to mind for many peers is the Los Angeles Lakers. With LeBron James and Anthony Davis getting older, many think a third star to form a star trio would elevate the team into the elite echelon of the Western Conference. The Bulls would still ask for a hefty package and the Lakers cannot afford to lose too much depth.

Another team many NBA peers have been bringing up is the Philadelphia 76ers. With them out of the shadow of James Harden, they have been playing more loosely and more free. The reigning MVP in Joel Embiid continues to perform at a high level and Tyrese Maxey looks like a star in the making. However, many speculate that Zach LaVine could be the missing piece to push them past the second round of the playoffs. Especially with the door in the Eastern Conference looking wide open for them considering the Milwaukee Bucks have been struggling. If Zach LaVine were brought into the fold, a course to a 76ers-Celtics Eastern Conference Finals seems extremely likely. All in all, whichever team lands LaVine, will be acquiring a high-level scorer who should increase their chances at a title this year.

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