The Toronto Raptors have been heavily rumored to be in the Damian Lillard sweepstakes with training camp approaching.
While the Miami Heat are Lillard’s preferred destination, the Raptors are the frontrunners to land the seven-time All-Star.
There was some speculation on if the Raptors would include Scottie Barnes in a potential trade package.
However, it appears Scottie Barnes is untouchable when it comes to trade talks for Damian Lillard, according to NBC Sports’ Kurt Helin:
“Whatever that trade package looks like, it will not involve Toronto sending former Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes to Portland, league sources told NBC Sports. While Portland understandably covets Barnes — a 22-year-old 6’9″ wing with handles who can get downhill, is a playmaker, averaged 15.3 points per game last season and is a plus defender — the Raptors front office loves him and has not made him available. It’s not that Toronto took him off the table, Barnes was never in the same room as the table.”
It makes sense for Toronto to hold onto Barnes due to the tremendous upside that he has. The Raptors didn’t want to trade Scottie Barnes for Kevin Durant last summer, so it makes sense that they wouldn’t want to trade him for Damian Lillard.
In his sophomore season, Barnes averaged 15.3 points, 6.6 rebounds and 4.8 assists on 45.5% shooting from the field. He was 28.1% from deep. The Raptors hope that Barnes will increase his numbers and take a leap this season.
Sportsnet’s Michael Grange views Barnes as the ‘apple of the Raptors eye’ and it is hard to imagine that stance would change when it comes to trading for Lillard.
A Lillard trade still does not seem imminent, but with training camp on the horizon, perhaps it pressures the Trail Blazers to trade him soon.
Trail Blazers interested in Gradey Dick
When it comes to the Raptors trading for Lillard, their trade package will seemingly be built around forward OG Anunoby.
There would have to be more assets and draft compensation to get a deal done. It is rumored that the Trail Blazers are interested in Gradey Dick.
Toronto drafted the Kansas Jayhawk with the No. 13 pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.
Have you subscribed to the Raptors Nation YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!