According to the latest NBA rumors, Miami Heat forward Nikola Jovic was reportedly mentioned in recent trade talks for Portland Trail Blazers superstar Damian Lillard. Jovic, 20, was selected 27th overall by the Heat in the 2022 NBA Draft. Portland is also still holding out hope that Lillard will retract his trade request.
“Trade talks involving Damian Lillard have gone quiet of late, with the Trail Blazers seemingly holding out hope for a better offer than what the Heat currently have on the table. One of the players likely involved in those negotiations is Jovic, a second-year Heat forward who impressed during Serbia’s silver-medal run,” wrote The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor.
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Imagine not taking Tyler Herro, Nikola Jovic and multiple first round picks for Damian Lillard.
— Miami HEAT UK 🇬🇧 (@TheMiamiHeatUK) September 11, 2023
Nikola Jovic made eight starts in 15 appearances with the Heat in his rookie 2022-23 NBA season. The 6-foot-10 wing averaged 5.5 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 13.6 minutes per game while shooting 40.6% from the floor, 22.9% beyond the arc, and 94.7% at the foul line.
Is Miami considering trading Tyler Herro, Jovic, and multiple first-round draft picks to Portland for Lillard?
During an episode last week of “NBA Today,” ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said that “very little of substance” has materialized in terms of movement on a possible Damian Lillard trade. In other words, it seems inevitable that Portland brass and Lillard will enter the 2023-24 season together.
NBA Rumors: Miami Heat forward Nikola Jovic was mentioned by the Portland Trail Blazers in Damian Lillard trade negotiations
Furthermore, a potential in-season trade is not out of the question. Earlier this month, it was rumored that the Oklahoma City Thunder could emerge as betting favorites to trade for Lillard. Although the seven-time All-Star’s preferred team is the Heat, OKC has a lot of young talent as well.
“I’mma throw a scenario out there, one that is fictional but could be rooted in reality if we look ahead a few months,” Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix said on The Crossovers podcast.
“Let’s say Oklahoma City is gangbusters to start the season. Let’s say they win like 60-something percent of their games through January where they’re sitting in the third or fourth seed in the Western Conference — which is not outrageous because, organically they’re going to grow.”
“Chet Holmgren is gonna be really good. Lot of good players in Oklahoma City,” Mannix added. “Let’s say they’re sitting there, and Oklahoma City knows they can’t pay all these guys on their roster.
— FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 🏆 (@FIBAWC) September 10, 2023
“What’s to stop Sam Presti from saying, ‘You know what? Damian Lillard’s got 3.5 years left on his deal. Let’s go get him! … You know, if you’re Portland, you’ve got to be thinking about that scenario or something like that in the next three or four months.”
More importantly, Lillard is owed $216.2 million over the next four seasons. The 11-year veteran is slated to earn $45.64 million in 2023-24. Plus, his salary will also climb to $63.2 million by 2026-27.
In 58 starts with the Trail Blazers in the 2022-23 season, Lillard averaged a career-high 32.2 points per game, along with 4.8 rebounds, 7.3 assists, and 36.3 minutes per game. He shot a career-high-tying 46.3% from the floor.
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