The Philadelphia 76ers might have just thrown a wrench in the plans for the Miami Heat to acquire Damian Lillard by signing Kelly Oubre Jr. of the Charlotte Hornets. As most of the basketball community should be aware by now, the Portland Trail Blazers star requested a trade from his team several weeks ago and made it abundantly clear that he wants to be a part of the Miami Heat.
Although the trade rumors and discussions seem to have come to a standstill at the moment, many fans still believe that Lillard will find a way onto the Heat. This might not be an unfounded belief considering that we are currently in a player-empowered era of basketball.
Even before finalizing the trade for Lillard, the Heat was thinking several moves ahead regarding establishing themselves as legitimate title contenders once they acquired him. However, it appears that the 76ers have gotten in the way of those plans. With that being said, let us take a closer look and find out more about this situation.
Who will the Miami Heat look to sign on after losing out on Kelly Oubre Jr.?
While one could argue that the Miami Heat are counting their chickens before they hatch, reports were released from their side revealing that Kelly Oubre Jr. is a player that the team is interested in acquiring under the assumption that they are able to eventually secure Damian Lillard.
Since the Portland Trail Blazers would likely expect a lot in return for giving up their star point guard, the Heat were planning to bring on Oubre to their roster to make up for the players that they would have to give up to acquire Lillard.
Although this was certainly considered a good idea at the time, the Philadelphia 76ers have suddenly swooped in and signed Kelly Oubre Jr. to a one-year deal. Therefore, Miami will have to target another free agent or player on an expiring deal to potentially pair alongside Lillard.
Kelly Oubre Jr. is signing a one-year deal with the 76ers, per ESPN. pic.twitter.com/ZqmmwJL5K4
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) September 18, 2023
Unfortunately, there really aren’t a lot of choices for the Miami Heat in terms of free agents. While they could sign on players such as Goran Dragic, TJ Warren, or even Blake Griffin, none of these players will really help turn the team into a guaranteed title contender alongside Lillard and the others.
At the moment, it would be in the best interest of the Miami Heat to focus on acquiring Lillard instead of worrying about finding other pieces to fill up their roster with. After all, any addition they make to the roster will be deemed pointless unless they are able to secure the Blazers star.