The Toronto Raptors may not be done finishing their offseason plans, as the Damian Lillard trade saga could end up ensuring Masai Ujiri and the rest of the front office. Toronto may try to acquire Lillard, but the latest rumors seem to suggest that Dame is hellbent on joining the Miami Heat.
The Raptors may not end up with Lillard, but the fact that Lillard hasn’t been traded yet goes to show that Portland’s front office has been thoroughly unimpressed with the collection of assets Miami is threatening to flip in exchange for the future Hall of Fame point guard.
Toronto should try to get in on this trade talk, as they could end up being a third team that gets a major asset added to their cupboard in exchange for helping facilitate this deal. Miami might need to compensate Toronto well if it means Lillard could come to town.
The Raptors need to look at these three Heat assets as they try to potentially facilitate a Lillard deal. They won’t get all of them, and Miami will try to keep as much of their own as possible, but they will need to offload some of them if they want any chance of making a three-team Dame trade a reality.
3 Heat players the Toronto Raptors could target in Damian Lillard trade talks.
3. Nikola Jovic
The Heat have been able to develop young talent reasonably well, but they are also willing to send many of their prized neophyte assets away if they can add a proven veteran. Jovic might be a casualty of that philosophy despite the former first-round pick’s recent improvements.
The 6-10 wing/forward hybrid played very well with Serbia in the 2023 FIBA World Cup, averaging 10.1 points per game on 57/42/76 shooting percentages. He’s added weight and looks much more confident from 3-point range, which bodes well for a Raptors team that needs more offensive projects to work with.
Nikola Jovic could thrive on the Toronto Raptors.
Jovic is much more likely to be traded than Jaime Jaquez, who was selected just a few picks after Gradey Dick due to his terrific stretch at UCLA. Ujiri would likely prioritize getting young players who can help this roster down the road, and Jovic is the best such player Miami has to offer.
Precious Achiuwa looked like a G League player at times with Miami, and Toronto helped turn him into a defensive dynamo and athletic whirling dervish that can be a problem on both ends (when his finishing cooperates). They could have similar good luck with Jovic.