The Toronto Raptors are trying to muscle in on the Miami Heat’s turf and become the top team in the Damian Lillard chase. Reports from names like Marc Stein and Marc Spears show that Toronto’s interest in Lillard is genuine. Can they actually manage to get this deal done?
The biggest obstacle to getting a deal done might be gauging Lillard’s interest in playing with the Raptors. Some rumors percolating out there, possibly leaked by Lillard’s camp, make it sound like Lillard is going to pitch a fit if he’s traded anywhere except Miami.
While the Heat are banking on a possible Lillard tantrum turning teams away, the Raptors could be undeterred. If the Blazers themselves, who hold all the cards, are prioritizing getting the best value in exchange for their best asset, the Raptors are clearly the spot for Lillard.
The Raptors have more to give than Miami does, and they seem to be less stubborn when it comes to getting a deal done. Even if Scottie Barnes and Pascal Siakam are not going to Portland in any Lillard deal, trading with Masai Ujiri still makes more sense for the Blazers.
3 reasons the Toronto Raptors are the best trade partner for Damian Lillard.
3. More draft picks
The Raptors have been willing to trade away many of their best draft picks over the years, but they still have more than enough to entice Portland into giving up Lillard. The Heat tried to build a winner in the past, and that pursuit has left them without the ammo needed for Lillard.
Miami has not only traded multiple first-round picks in the last half-decade to maximize the talent available on the roster, but they have just one second-round pick at their disposal until 2031 comes around. If picks are the goal, there is simply no contest here.
The Toronto Raptors can trade draft picks for Damian Lillard.
While the Blazers might not be too keen on acquiring Tyler Herro due to their collection of young guards, they also won’t like the idea of trading the best player in franchise history to a team that simply can’t offer them lots of assets that can benefit them in the long run.
Ujiri had multiple opportunities to make a win-now move and mortgage some of these picks to acquire a star, but he chose to hoard those assets. That philosophy could help them in the Lillard sweepstakes, as they can part with multiple picks and not be completely tapped out.