Damian Lillard An illustration of new Milwaukee Bucks point guard Damian Lillard via USA Today Images

Damian Lillard had seemed destined to end up with the Miami Heat.

The Portland Trail Blazers star had named the Heat as his preferred trade destination early in the summer, and the two teams had tried to negotiate a deal.

Whatever might have been, or almost happened, is irrelevant now, after Wednesday’s news that Lillard is headed to the Milwaukee Bucks in a three-team trade involving the Phoenix Suns.

How did the Heat miss out? Fair or not, Miami media, Heat fans and NBA insiders are pointing the finger directly at Heat president Pat Riley. The 78-year-old executive began trending on X (formerly Twitter) Wednesday, and the overwhelming majority of comments were negative.

One report suggested Riley made an initial offer on Lillard but never offered more when it got rejected.

Damian Lillard’s agent Aaron Goodwin gave a strange statement to the Miami Herald, thanking Riley, team GM Andy Elisburg and team owner Micky Arison, but saying “it takes two to get a deal done.”

“They did everything they could to acquire Dame. It takes two to get a deal done,” Goodwin said (via the Herald). “I appreciate all that Pat, Andy and Micky did to try and make this happen.”

Whatever the reasons behind the trade falling through, Heat fans are livid, and they vented their anger on X.

[Evan Sidery]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.