The Toronto Raptors went from the front of the Damian Lillard trade sweepstakes to a team that got kicked right in the gut by the basketball powers that be after the Milwaukee Bucks acquired him for a package centered around Jrue Holiday.
The Raptors had hoped to convince Lillard of the idea that coming to Toronto could help build a championship contender, but Dame was not as receptive to those overtures.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, Lillard expanded his list of acceptable destinations to include the Bucks and Brooklyn Nets. The Raptors had interest in him, but he was reportedly very resistant to playing in Toronto. The price of playing in Canada strikes again.
In Milwaukee, Lillard could compete for multiple championships alongside Giannis. In Brooklyn, Lillard would be the main star on a young team in the biggest media market America has to offer. Toronto, no matter what it could have offered, could have provided Lillard with either of those things.
More Raptors news
- A survey of 15 scouts, coaches, and executives from around the league declared the Raptors as the dubious winners of the worst offseason in the NBA. The biggest offense in the eyes of these minds was the fact that Fred VanVleet left in free agency, giving Toronto nothing in return for one of the best players in team history.
- The Raptors waived Kevin Obanor, who signed an Exhibit 10 contract earlier in the offseason. The writing may have been on the wall after Obanor struggled to get any playing time in Summer League. Toronto will likely try to replace him as soon as possible, possibly with another Exhibit 10 contract that can be shown off in training camp.
- Giannis Antetokounmpo called losing Jrue Holiday to Portland in the Lillad deal “bittersweet.” “You get Dame, who is a great player, but you lose a great guy,” Antetokounmpo said, via Bleacher Report. “Jrue took us to the promised land…At the end of the day, Jrue will always be my brother for life. He’s one of the best human beings I’ve been around.”
- The Golden State Warriors will be the host of the 2025 NBA All-Star Game at their brand-new arena in San Francisco. The festivities in the Bay Area, which will show off one of the newest and most technologically advanced stadiums in the league, will follow the 2024 NBA All-Star game in Indianapolis.
The Raptors are still reeling from missing out on Lillard as a VanVleet replacement.