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Toronto Raptors Leading Contenders for Damian Lillard Trade

Published on September 26, 2023
Written by John
Toronto Raptors Leading Contenders for Damian Lillard Trade
  • Lillard has spent his entire career with the Portland Trail Blazer
  • Said to have preferred to play for the Miami Heat
  • Several other teams are said to be interested in acquiring Lillard

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Damian Lillard, the renowned Portland Trail Blazers star, may soon don a new jersey as the Toronto Raptors emerge as the frontrunners in trade discussions. Despite a strong preference for the Miami Heat and interest from multiple franchises, the Raptors seem to be leading the race, bolstering their roster for the upcoming seasons.

Raptors Spark Interest In Damien Lillard

The trade winds are swirling around Damian Lillard, the famed guard from the Portland Trail Blazers, with the Toronto Raptors emerging as the prime suitors. High-ranking NBA executives cite Toronto as the probable next stop for Lillard, who had previously expressed a desire to move, marking Miami Heat as his preferred destination. However, detailed and substantial trade talks have seemingly been more progressive with the Raptors than the Heat.

Lillard’s request to be traded, made public nearly three months ago, had various franchises, including the Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers, and Chicago Bulls, showing keen interest. Despite this widespread attention, it seems the negotiations between the Raptors and the Blazers have been the most advanced, even though no pact was close to being finalized as of the last reports.

The potential trade package from the Raptors could be quite lucrative, possibly featuring two-time NBA All-Star Pascal Siakam, 2022 NBA Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes, and promising players like O.G. Anunoby and Gradey Dick. The Blazers have shown particular interest in the young sharpshooter, Gradey Dick.

Damian Lillard, a seven-time All-Star, has been a stalwart for the Blazers, remaining with the team since being selected sixth overall in the 2012 draft. He has three more years on his current contract, with a payout of $45 million due next season.

Lillard’s initial preference for Miami Heat was influenced by the team’s potential for securing a title and the prospect of playing alongside stars like Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. The renowned ‘Heat culture,’ absence of a state tax in Florida, and higher marketing prospects also reportedly appeal to Lillard.

Despite being in the midst of trade talks, Lillard is not expected to be a media day or training camp holdout. This professionalism is evident as the discussions continue, with NBA executives speculating a trade is likely before media day on Oct. 2 for most teams, including the Blazers, Heat, and Raptors.

Toronto Raptors president and vice chairman Masai Ujiri has a history of bold moves, highlighted by his acquisition of Kawhi Leonard in 2018, which led the Raptors to their lone NBA title in 2019. His pursuit of Lillard aligns with his reputation for not hesitating to trade for stars who might be apprehensive about moving to Toronto.

Betting Implications

Wherever Lillard goes will reshape the power dynamics in the NBA. This would enhance the Raptors offensive portfolio and make them an instant contender for the upcoming seasons. At the moment, Toronto is at +8500 to win the NBA Championship, tenth worst, but if they were to land Lillard, those odds would skyrocket to the possibly the top ten. Whether the Blazers’ star will find his new home in Toronto or another city remains to be seen, but the ongoing negotiations are bound to keep the basketball world in anticipation.

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Content Writer

John has had a prominent career in sports media that spans over a decade. He has lent his talents to high-profile companies such as ESPN, NBC Sports, and Audacy. He’s bringing his sports betting expertise, having analyzed every major sport, including the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and PGA, with a career success rate over 52%.

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