The Raptors continue to be at the forefront of the Damian Lillard rumors.
Sportsnet’s Michael Grange confirms per his sources that the Raptors are ‘very much in the mix.’
This isn’t the first time the Raptors have been in rumors when it comes to landing a big superstar.
The Raptors were heavily involved in the Kevin Durant sweepstakes last summer. Durant eventually landed with the Phoenix Suns at the 2023 NBA Trade Deadline. The Raptors wanted to make a run at Giannis Antetokounmpo, before he ultimately signed an extension with the Milwaukee Bucks in 2021.
Of course, the Raptors did land a superstar in 2018 when the Raptors traded for Kawhi Leonard to everyone’s surprise.
Now fast forward to the 2023 offseason and the Raptors find themselves in trade talks for another superstar. Damian Lillard has made it clear that he wants to be in Miami, but so far the Miami Heat and Portland Trail Blazers haven’t been able to work out a deal.
Grange says the Raptors seem confident that they can outbid teams like the Heat:
“By all accounts, the Raptors seem at least reasonably confident they can maneuver their way to the front of the line, past the Miami Heat — Lillard’s preferred destination — and ahead of a team such as the Brooklyn Nets, who have the draft picks to get something done if Portland is open to taking on the last two years of Ben Simmons’ contract.”
Grange says that the deal for the Raptors comes down to a trade package built around OG Anunoby. As for Scottie Barnes, Grange says he remains the ‘apple of the Raptors eye.’
A potential Raptors trade for Lillard
Grange outlines a deal involving Anunoby, Gary Trent Jr., Thad Young and picks which works financially. But ultimately he doesn’t think the Raptors should trade for Lillard. He mentions the Raptors suspect depth and the risk of leveraging the future for present for Lillard who’s made it clear that he wants to be in Miami.
Lastly, Grange points out that Lillard is represented by Aaron Goodwin, whose client Demar DeRozan was traded for Kawhi Leonard in the summer of 2018. Goodwin might not be willing to help Masai Ujiri after DeRozan’s fallout with the Raptors.
As the Damian Lillard rumors continue to heat up, the Raptors remain in the thick of things.
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