The Toronto Raptors were in the thick of things during the Damian Lillard sweepstakes.
As the dust settles, more details are coming out about how the trade ultimately went down.
The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Sam Amick put out a piece talking about how the unexpected blockbuster trade came together.
Lillard’s disinterest in playing in Toronto ended up being an obstacle for the Raptors:
“Throughout this Lillard saga, there was the looming question of whether a team would take on his massive contract if he didn’t want to be there. Lillard has three years remaining on his deal plus a player option for 2026-27 for a projected $63.2 million. For example, the Raptors’ interest was serious, but Lillard’s disinterest in playing in Toronto remained an obstacle until the end.”
There were rumors suggesting that Damian Lillard didn’t want to be in Toronto all along. There was even something that came out that suggested that Damian Lillard would ‘make it ugly’ if traded to Toronto.
It appears Lillard’s disinteret to be in Toronto proved to be true. In the end the Raptors didn’t want to go all-in on a superstar who didn’t want to be there.
Unlike Kawhi Leonard who had one-year left on his deal, Damian Lillard still has four-years and $220 million left on his contract.
Trading away assets and taking on a big contract for a guy who doesn’t want to be there is a huge risk.
Raptors look ahead to start of the season
In the end the Raptors don’t trade for Damian Lillard and now look ahead to the start of the 2023-24 season. The Raptors will focus on what this current roster can accomplish.
There’s been rumors that the Raptors could possibly be in the running for Jrue Holiday. He’s expected to be traded by the Portland Trail Blazers, but nothing seems imminent at this point.
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