Heat and Celtics Betting Favorites to Land Damian Lillard in a Trade

Heat and Celtics Betting Favorites to Land Damian Lillard in a Trade

Posted on: July 8, 2023, 12:28h. 

Last updated on: July 8, 2023, 12:28h.

Portland Trail Blazers star guard Damian Lillard requested a trade last week. The Miami Heat are the betting favorite to land Lillard in a trade at -275 odds, but the Boston Celtics are also making a push at +650 odds.

Damian Lillard
Miami Heat shooting guard Duncan Robinson defends Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard at Kaseya Arena in Miami. (Image: Getty)

Lillard specifically asked the Trail Blazers to send him to the Heat, but he does not have a no-trade clause, so that’s not a 100% guarantee.

The Trail Blazers already rejected a trade offer by the Heat, which indicated that general manager Joe Cronin is in no rush to trade Lillard.

The blockbuster Bradley Beal trade between the Washington Wizards and Phoenix Suns transpired quickly, but the Lillard trade could take much longer.

The Heat lost to the Denver Nuggets in the 2023 NBA Finals, but they lacked an additional scorer and playmaker to keep up with the high-octane Nuggets. Lillard is the type of player that could thrust the Heat over the top in the Eastern Conference.

A “Big Three” consisting of Lillard, Jimmy Butler, and Bam Adebayo will make the Heat a top title contender next season. The Heat are currently +900 odds to win the 2023-24 NBA championship as the fifth-highest team on DraftKings’ NBA futures board.

In the meantime, DraftKings also posted a next team prop bet. Bettors can wager on where Lillard plays when he steps on the court for the first time next season.

Miami Heat -275

Major NBA media figures are confident that the Trail Blazers will trade Lillard to the Heat, but it’s just a matter of when. The two sides are slowly working out the logistics of a trade, even after the Trail Blazers rejected the Heat’s first offer.

The Trail Blazers seek a lucrative trade package comparable to what the Utah Jazz received last offseason when they sent Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves in exchange for four first-rounders and multiple players. Cronin also cited the Kevin Durant trade to the Phoenix Suns as something he’s looking to get back for Lillard. The Nets acquired four first-rounders and three potential starters for Durant.

The Trail Blazers want four first-round picks and two quality players in any deal for Lillard. The word “quality” has a loose definition and could mean a pair of starters, or two prospects, or a combo of the two.

The Heat have two coveted prospects including power forward Nikola Jovic and small forward Jaime Jaquez. The Heat selected UCLA’s Jacquez in the first round of the recent NBA Draft with the #18 pick. Jovic, who barely played as a rookie last season, was selected by the Heat with the #27 pick in the 2022 NBA Draft.

The Heat’s first offer included former NBA Sixth Man of the Year Tyler Herro, but Cronin is not keen on Herro. While the Heat tinker their next offer, they seek out a potential third party to facilitate the trade. The San Antonio Spurs are interested in Herro and could acquire him straight up, or become a third team in the Lillard deal.

Portland Trail Blazers +550

There’s a decent chance that the 2023-24 NBA regular season begins without a Lillard trade.

All involved parties prefer to seal a deal before the end of preseason, but there’s no hard deadline. Cronin is in no rush to finalize the first big trade of his short career in Portland, so negotiations between the Heat and Trail Blazers could spill into the start of the season.

The Trail Blazers provide decent value at +550 odds as the team where Lillard plays his first game of the season.

Do not lose sight of the specific wording of the prop bet. It’s not where Lillard ends up in a trade, but where he’s playing at the start of the season.

Boston Celtics +650

Brad Stevens has been busy this offseason. The general manager of the Celtics traded away Marcus Smart and added Kristaps “Unicorn” Porzingis in a three-team trade. He also worked out a sign-and-trade for Grant Williams to the Dallas Mavs.

Local beat reporters in New England are convinced that Stevens has been hoarding draft picks to make a run at Lillard. All-Star forward Jayson Tatum has been lobbying to bring Lillard to Boston, but Dame is not interested in finishing out his career in Boston.

I don’t see a trade, other than the Miami trade,” said Bill Simmons on his podcast earlier this week. “Unless it’s the Celtics.”

If Celtics made a run at Lillard, they would would have to say goodbye to Jaylen Brown. Brown has been patiently waiting to sign a supermax contract extension. A third team that eyes Brown, like the Atlanta Hawks or Houston Rockets, could make a Lillard deal a reality if the Heat’s negotiation falls apart.

The Celtics are the third-highest team on the prop bet board at +650 odds to add Lillard in a trade.

Brooklyn Nets +1200

The Nets amassed an abundance of draft picks after they dealt Durant to the Suns and Kyrie Irving to the Dallas Mavs at the 2023 trade deadline. Brooklyn has yet to figure out a solution to their Ben Simmons problem, who posted career lows across the board in just 42 games last season.

Lillard does not want to play for the Nets, so a straight-up deal seems impossible. Fans can forget about their dream trade in which they ditch Simmons and draft picks for Lillard.

The Nets are reluctant to help the Heat acquire Lillard. Then again, the Nets could ultimately decide that assisting the Heat in a three-team deal would be the easiest and quickest way to part ways with Simmons.

The prevailing Lillard trade rumor in Brooklyn — tantalizing Williamsburg hipsters and Coney Island hoopsters — suggests the Nets could acquire Herro and a second-round pick from the Heat if they send Simmons and a first-rounder to the Trail Blazers. The Heat would send point guard Kyle Lowry, Jovic, and two first-round picks to Portland, and the Trail Blazers would send Lillard and center Jusuf Nurkic to Miami.

New York Knicks +6000

Lillard once said that Madison Square Garden is his favorite venue in the NBA, so every basketball fan in Gotham is keeping close tabs on this story. A legion of diehard Knicks fans hope that president Leon Rose work his magic. If Rose can pull off a Lillard trade to the Knicks, it would be the biggest score in the Big Apple since the infamous Lufthansa plane heist of 1978.

The Knicks are a long shot at +6000 odds to acquire Lillard in a trade, but the Knicks are stocked with draft capital and young players like Immanuel Quickley, Deuce McBride, and RJ Barrett. They can meet the Trail Blazers’ hefty demand of four first-round draft picks and two quality players.

The Knicks are also linked to trade rumors involving James Harden and Joel Embiid from the Philadelphia 76ers.

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