ESPN insider: Jayson Tatum recruits Damian Lillard, but star PG locks intent to join Heat


Photo: Boston Celtics/Twitter

As Damian Lillard remains desperate in his desire to land in South Beach, Jayson Tatum reportedly took a bold move to convince the All-Star guard to change his heart and instead be with him in the Beantown.

Unfortunately, the recruitment pitch of the Boston Celtics star didn’t materialize in success, according to ESPN’s Marc J. Spears in a recent appearance on Bill Oram’s “Sports by Northwest” podcast.

“I know that Boston, I know Jayson Tatum has called [Damian Lillard], try to get in his ear, but his focus is definitely on Miami.”

Plenty of weeks have passed, but the Lillard trade saga has yet to post significant progress. With the star point man maintaining his strong intentions to get traded to the Miami Heat, the Portland Trail Blazers haven’t shown any key willingness yet to cut their ties with their franchise hero.

But the fact that the NBA even released a league-wide memo about Lillard’s stern stand, it only shows that the 33-year-old is truly adamant and has that tunnel vision about joining forces with Jimmy Butler and co. 

As such, Tatum’s persuasion on Lillard appears enticing after Boston handed Jaylen Brown the richest extension in NBA history this offseason. Besides, the Heat are also the staunchest Conference rival of the Celtics, which may have prompted the star forward to lure away Lillard’s sight on Miami.

Tatum can only hope, but as Spears pointed out, the Heat does boast their infamous culture while the city of Miami offers plenty of reasons to be a liveable place – things that are difficult to disregard for the disgruntled All-Star as he vies a new scenery after years of living in Oregon and settling for frequent postseason heartbreakers.

“He’s kind of got that kind of like military basketball mentality. He wants to work,” Spears said of Lillard wanting to be in Miami. “Also, the stability of the organization, the winning, like they’ve been to the Finals what, seven times since 2006? Obviously, Bam [Adebayo], and Jimmy [Butler] helps, no State tax helps, sunshine helps. 

“And I think at 33 years old, he looks at the landscape of the West and it’s like ‘mmm… I think my chances are better to go out East, and if Miami is able to make the Finals without somebody like myself, what can they do with me?’ So you don’t make that move unless it’s certainly a calculated risk.”

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