According to reports by ESPN’s Marc Spears, the Toronto Raptors are the current front runners to land Blazers star Damian Lillard.
Toronto wants to land a perennial all-star guard. The belief since Lillard requested a trade in July has been that the Blazers would send him to his preferred destination…the Miami Heat. That may not be the case. Some unnamed NBA executives believe Lillard will be dealt prior to media day, next Monday.
The initial trade package from Miami included Tyler Herro and two first-round picks. However, it has been stated that the Blazers are not interested in Herro. Though, they could be highly interested in several players on the Raptors roster. Those players could be a combination of OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, Scottie Barnes and the Raptors’ first-round pick Gradey Dick.
If no other team is involved, the speculation is that the Raptors could put together a trade package that includes Anunoby, Gary Trent Jr., Dick, salary filler and multiple first-round picks. If the Suns are involved DeAndre Ayton and Jusuf Nurkic could be involved in the deal. In fact, Nurkic has hinted at being traded earlier in the offseason and Ayton has been thrown around in rumors of Lillard talks recently. Most of these players would make sense for Portland if they plan to get younger.
The real question would be whether Damian Lillard would be happy heading north of the border to the Raptors. Lillard believes the Heat would have a shot at winning an NBA Championship with the combination of Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo and himself. The lack of a state tax in Florida, greater marketing potential and the Heat’s renowned culture also intrigues him, according to Spears.
Over the past week, there have been multiple reports of interest on Lillard. Regardless of whether Lillard is traded or still in Portland come media day, a source told Spears said he is not expected to be a media day or training camp holdout.
More to come.
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