Report: Raptors considered 'front-runners' for Lillard
The Damian Lillard trade market is heating up.
The Toronto Raptors are considered the front-runners to acquire the Portland Trail Blazers guard, two high-ranking NBA team executives told Andscape's Marc J. Spears.
While progress has been made between the two teams, the Raptors are not close to striking a deal for the seven-time All-Star, sources told Michael Grange of Sportsnet.
The Chicago Bulls, Milwaukee Bucks, and Philadelphia 76ers are among some of the teams in contact with the Blazers for Lillard, according to Spears.
With training camps set to open next week, Lillard reportedly plans on showing up for only the Blazers or the Miami Heat, the latter being his reported desired destination after he requested a trade from Portland in July.
The Orlando Magic are another team that could make an offer, sources told Grange. Other franchises that have been interested in adding the longtime Blazer over the offseason include the Sixers, Los Angeles Clippers, and Utah Jazz.
The Raptors currently possess their 2026, 2028, and 2030 first-round picks. Their 2024 pick is top-six protected as it was included in the Jakob Poeltl trade in February. Toronto could also offer up forward O.G. Anunoby in a potential trade, a player for whom the Blazers reportedly considered trading their No. 7 pick in the 2022 draft. Portland selected Canadian guard Shaedon Sharpe instead.
Other players that could be included in a trade to match Lillard's $45.6-million salary for the upcoming season include Gary Trent, Chris Boucher, and Thaddeus Young. Former Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes is still considered to be an important player for the franchise regardless of whether a deal for Lillard materializes, according to Grange.
Gradey Dick, who the Raptors selected with its first-round selection this year, has apparently drawn the intrigue of the Blazers, adds Spears.
Toronto finished with a 41-41 record last season and was eliminated in the play-in tournament. The franchise lost point guard Fred VanVleet to the Houston Rockets in free agency and replaced him with Dennis Schroder.