Damian? Damian who? The case against a Lillard case

Q: Do you see any scenario where the Heat could receive any sanctions if they were to land Damian Lillard? It seems that Pat Riley and the Heat certainly have not been public with any comments, however investigations can turn up all sorts of communication. – David, Venice.

A: First, if there is a trade and the Blazers find it to be an equitable transaction, then the entire process would end there. The league does not relish having to inject itself into such equations. Beyond that, there only would be an investigation if another team believes it was unfairly denied entry into such trade deliberations because of some sort of side deal. And as far as we know, no other team is or has been involved. As it is, it would be interesting to see the last time someone in the Heat front office mentioned the word “Lillard” or even the word “Damian.” Heck, the Heat probably would deny even watching Damian Lewis in Billions or listening to Damian Marley.

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Q: If the Blazers end up acquiring Nikola Jovic and Jaime Jaquez Jr. in a Damian Lillard trade, will the Heat make another move to replace that depth? – Ren, Stuart.

A: For now, it appears that the Heat would send out more players than they bring back, so there assuredly would be followup roster moves. But there still would be enough of a rotation core in place that such moves could be on a minimal scale, perhaps contracts not even guaranteed. As it is, I doubt both Nikola Jovic and Jaime Jaquez Jr. would be sent out.

Q: After being completely embarrassed in a 4-1 NBA Finals loss, shouldn’t Erik Spoelstra have remained in Miami to figure out how to finally end the Heat’s decade-long title drought instead of wasting time as an assistant for the least talented Team USA ever assembled? – Morty, Coral Gables.

A: Embarrassed? Guess I watched a different series, and certainly watched a different postseason. I’m not sure there has been a playoff team to overachieve to such levels in recent years. As for working as an assistant coach for Steve Kerr with USA Basketball, such experience is like a summer school, part of Erik Spoelstra’s continuing education. Beyond that, what better way to (legally) plant the recruiting seed with the NBA’s next generation of leading talent?

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