The rumors about Damian Lillard going to South Beach continue to swirl even if the Portland Trail Blazers and the Miami Heat have not really made significant progress toward that scenario. The Heat might even be now more interested in landing another superstar than Lillard, with Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated mentioning Miami as harboring a desire to land the two-time NBA Most Valuable Player: Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo.

What this could do is motivate Miami. Talks between the Blazers and Heat have reportedly been dormant for some time. And, yes, Miami is certainly among the teams keeping an eye on Giannis Antetokounmpo’s situation in Milwaukee. But are the Heat really willing to, ahem, burn another season of Jimmy Butler in the hope that Giannis is available? Or is the threat of Toronto landing Lillard enough for Miami to plus up whatever offer it had on the table?

Milwaukee still has two more seasons of full control of Antetokounmpo, including the upcoming 2023-24 campaign when he will be earning $45.64 million. Antetokounmpo will also pocket $48.78 million in the 2024-25 season before he needs to make a major decision on whether to pick up or not his $51.93 million player option for the 2025-26 season. Antetokounmpo’s seeming reluctance to the idea of signing an extension with the Bucks is also what makes this potential Heat pursuit even more interesting. He’s already said that winning will always come first for him, and that can be taken as a veiled warning for Milwaukee’s front office.

Such a trade between the Heat and the Bucks could see the former part ways with someone like Bam Adebayo and maybe a Caleb Martin. So far, all the Heat have done at the moment is show interest, but they have probably just laid the early groundwork for a blockbuster trade down the road.