The Miami Heat are regarded as the frontrunner to acquire Damian Lillard from the Portland Trail Blazers in any potential trade involving the superstar.
Unfortunately, to date, the two sides have been unable to reach any sort of common ground regarding what it would take to pry Lillard away.
Miami lacks the assets necessary to truly entire Portland; the Blazers, meanwhile, lack any real motivation to send Lillard to the Heat aside from him explicitly stating that is the only team he wants to play for.
Someone is going to have to blink here, and the Blazers have the most leverage to work with. They’re the ones with the power to send Lillard elsewhere.
According to NBA insider Jake Weinbach, the Toronto Raptors are a team to watch going forward.
“The Toronto Raptors are a team to keep an eye on regarding the Damian Lillard sweepstakes,” he wrote.
“If Toronto expresses serious interest, Portland could be enticed by a package centered around OG Anunoby, Chris Boucher, salary filler, and draft compensation.”
Obviously Lillard has made it clear that he only wants to play for the Heat. That said – the Raptors have taken a risk like this before. They made a bet on Kawhi Leonard, and although he ultimately left, he did bring the franchise its first title.
Masai Ujiri has been known to swing big. And there is no denying that Toronto has way more in the way of enviable trade capital than Miami does.
Roger Goodell’s greeting for Deshaun Watson was quite telling. https://t.co/eyz8dzknNV
— Game 7 (@game7__) August 4, 2023
That said – stars have a way of getting their way in the NBA. It has happened before, and it’s hard not to see it happening again here.
Lillard wants to end up with the Heat. Most likely, he will get his way.
Will the Raptors be able to sneak into the equation and make something for Lillard happen? Time will tell.