The Damian Lillard Trade Request Moves Miami Heat NBA 2023-24 Title Odds

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Dame Time is up. After years of “Will he or won’t he?” Portland Trail Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard finally requested a trade from the team that drafted him. Apparently, Lillard wants to “take his talents to South Beach”.

Sportsbooks weren’t screwing around with the Miami Heat’s 2023-24 NBA championship odds following Lillard’s trade request. Miami was +1400 at DraftKings Sportsbook pre-Lillard trade request then fell to +900 afterward on July 1st.

The reigning Eastern Conference champion Heat have the 3rd-best odds out East to return to the NBA Finals. Miami is behind the Boston Celtics (+500) and Milwaukee Bucks (+850), both of whom the Heat beat en route to the finals.

At this point, I would sit tight on betting Miami to win the NBA Finals next season. The market is pricing the Heat as if they’ve already acquired Lillard. There’s still a chance Lillard stays put or goes elsewhere.

Lillard dribbles the ball around Heat SF Jimmy Butler at the former "FTX Arena" in Miami.
Lillard dribbles the ball around Heat SF Jimmy Butler at the former “FTX Arena” in Miami. (Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports)

Granted, in this “NBA player empowerment” era we are currently living in, superstars usually get exactly what they ask for. With that in mind, the question becomes “What are the Heat going to give up to acquire Lillard?”


Miami will probably build a trade package around Heat SG, and 2021-22 Sixth Man of the Year, Tyler Herro and draft capital. The Trail Blazers are stacked with guards so perhaps the Heat need to involve a 3rd team to trade for Lillard.

Dame Time averaged career-bests in points per game (32.2), effective field goal shooting (56.4%), and usage rate (33.8%) with the 2nd-best PER of his career (26.7). Albeit Lillard played in just 58 games in 2022-23, which was his 2nd-lowest behind 29 two seasons ago.

Even though longtime Miami president Pat Riley prefers two-way players, Dame Time still fits Heat Culture. Lillard is one of the best “locker room guys” in the NBA and a legit “leader”.

Trail Blazers' Damian Lillard drives past Heat wing Caleb Martin at the then-FTX Arena in Miami.
Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard drives past Heat wing Caleb Martin at the then-FTX Arena in Miami. (Megan Briggs/Getty Images)

Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra is a defensive mastermind. Spo can figure out how to keep Dame Time from being on hunted on defense as well as any coach in the Association.

Furthermore, the Heat didn’t lose to the Denver Nuggets in the NBA Finals because of defense. Miami needed guys who could get their own look and create shots for teammates.

If this trade goes through, I’ll jump the Heat ahead of the Bucks in my power ratings. Lillard takes pressure off of Jimmy Butler in crunch-time, improves Miami’s pick-and-roll with big Bam Adebayo, and gives the Heat another guy that can get buckets.

Listen to the ‘OutKick Bets with Geoff Clark’ podcast HERE.

Written by Geoff Clark

Geoff Clark serves as OutKick’s sports betting guru. As a writer and host of OutKick Bets with Geoff Clark, he dives deep into the sports betting landscape and welcomes an array of sports betting personalities on his show to handicap America’s biggest sporting events.

Previously, Clark was a writer/podcaster for USA TODAY's Sportsbook Wire website, handicapping all the major sports tentpoles with a major focus on the NFL, NBA and MLB.

Clark graduated from St. John University.

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