Raptors among teams linked to Damian Lillard trade interest: report

Apr 24 2023, 8:51 pm

Another offseason has barely begun for the Toronto Raptors, but they once again are finding themselves in superstar trade rumours.

After last summer was dominated by discussions of whether the team would find a way to trade for Kevin Durant, it appears that Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard is the latest superstar to be potentially linked to the Raptors.

New York-based ESPN reporter Frank Isola discussed the idea of Lillard joining a team in the Eastern Conference this summer during the Philadelphia 76ers-Brookyln Nets first-round playoff Game 4 over the weekend.

“[Brooklyn Nets general manager] Sean Marks is gonna have to go big-game hunting, ” Isola referenced on a YES broadcast over the weekend. “Damian Lillard is a big-time player and I think he’s gonna be on the move. I think he’s gonna end up in the Eastern Conference. You want to look at Miami, you want to look at Atlanta, you want to look at Philadelphia, you want to look at Toronto, you want to look at the Brooklyn Nets… I think all those teams are going to go after Dame Lillard.”

A seven-time NBA All-Star and a six-time member of the All-NBA team, the 32-year-old Lillard averaged 32.2 points, 7.3 assists, and 4.8 rebounds in 58 games this season with Portland.

Due to a trade restriction, the earliest the Raptors (or any other team) could acquire Lillard is July 9, per Spotrac.

Lillard is heading into year three of a four-year, $176 million contract, but has a player option for the fourth season that would allow him to either hit free agency or re-up on any team with a new deal.

With Lillard’s lofty salary, it would likely involve a package of multiple Toronto players in order to acquire him and satisfy the league’s trade requirements. Isola’s comment seemed to be suggesting that nothing is close, but rather at least that teams will be knocking on Portland’s door to gauge interest for the star guard.

At the very least, don’t expect the rumours to die down anytime soon over the next few months when it comes to Lillard.

Adam LaskarisAdam Laskaris

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