The Toronto Raptors were unable to secure the services of Damian Lillard in trade talks with the Portland Trail Blazers. Toronto was ultimately outbid, conceding defeat to the Milwaukee Bucks amid their desire to build a championship favorite alongside Giannis Antetokounmpo.
The Bucks ultimately acquired Lillard for a package centered around Jrue Holiday. The Raptors had a nearly impossible task on their hands, as they were trying to acquire one of the best players in the league without giving away any of their impactful players.
Michael Grange of Sportsnet not only confirmed past rumors that hinted Scottie Barnes and Pascal Siakam were not on the table in trade talks, but that OG Anunoby was also not going to be sent away. What were the Raptors trying to accomplish with this trade?
Grange said that Toronto was willing to trade three first-round picks, the right to swap first-round picks for two years, and No. 13 overall pick Gradey Dick. Essentially, Ujiri wanted to give up six firsts without any impact players headed Portland’s way. What was he thinking?
Toronto Raptors trade offer for Damian Lillard was weak.
While Portland clearly valued the idea of getting a collection of future draft picks, they also wanted young assets or a veteran who could potentially be rerouted. They got both of those in this three-team deal, as Holiday came to town alongside former Suns center Deandre Ayton.
Toronto once again remains a team that is totally stuck in the middle, as Ujiri was refusing to trade away his best players to kick off a rebuild. His overvaluing of names like Anunoby could be his undoing, as he could have been a very solid get for Portland.
Lillard may not have even come to Toronto if this trade went down. Reports from Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic confirmed that Lillard was interested in joining the Bucks and Brooklyn Nets after talks with the Heat started breaking down, but Toronto was still not a spot he was looking at.
While Ujiri was originally commended for at least giving this whole thing a try before a superior package outbid him, any sense of positivity has to have been washed away. If Anunoby, Barnes, and Siakam were off the table, how is that possibly negotiating in good faith for someone like Dame?