Despite his earlier trade request this summer, Damian Lillard remains a part of the Portland Trail Blazers, at least for the time being.
Although the Miami Heat is Lillard’s preferred destination, he has not excluded the possibility of joining the Toronto Raptors. In fact, according to information from two NBA team executives shared by ESPN insider Marc Spears, the Raptors are currently seen as the leading contender to acquire the seven-time All-Star.
On Monday, Spears reported, “The most prominent name circulating right now is the Toronto Raptors. I had conversations with two highly influential team executives today, and they both indicated that Toronto is the frontrunner. They wouldn’t be surprised if he ultimately ends up with the Raptors.”
Marc J Spears on Damian Lillard trades: 🗣
"The hottest name that I'm hearing right now.. is the Toronto Raptors…Talked to two really high ranking team executives… & they said that Toronto is the frontrunner… Right now, there is no trade imminent."pic.twitter.com/XUirB5dXBs
— Digits Hoops (@Digits3Hoops) September 25, 2023
Spears mentioned that a trade is not currently on the immediate horizon. However, he pointed out that Raptors president Masai Ujiri has a track record of making significant trades when the right opportunity arises. Whether Damian Lillard would be content in Toronto remains uncertain, but according to Spears, the 33-year-old would likely fulfill his obligations to the franchise and participate in games.
“They’ve engaged in numerous discussions with the Blazers, and Masai Ujiri has a history of fearlessly pursuing such deals,” Spears explained. “The prevailing expectation is that Dame desires to be in Miami. However, if he were to end up in Toronto, it’s worth noting that Masai pulled off a similar move in 2018 when he acquired Kawhi Leonard from the San Antonio Spurs, ultimately resulting in the Raptors winning their first and only championship.”