NBA Trade Rumors: Toronto Raptors considered ‘frontrunners’ for Damian Lillard?

Toronto Raptors general manage Masai Ujiri (Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports)
Toronto Raptors general manage Masai Ujiri (Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports) /

NBA Trade Rumors: According to recent reports, the Toronto Raptors appear to be the clear frontrunners for Damian Lillard.

There’s a very real chance that Damian Lillard will finally traded this week. However, there’s no clear-cut likely landing spot for Lillard right now. It’s been reported that Lillard wants to be traded to the Miami Heat but the Portland Trail Blazers have been clear on their stance of finding the right deal, whether that’s with a preferred landing spot for Lillard or not.

Aside from the Heat, two teams that have been brought up as potential suitors for Lillard are the Chicago Bulls and Toronto Raptors. And according to a recent report, one of those non-Heat teams may be considered the favorites at the moment.

With the start of training camp around the corner, we should have a more concrete answer fairly soon.

The Toronto Raptors are the favorites for Damian Lillard

ESPN’s Marc Spears went on NBA Today to give an update on the Lillard situation. According to Spears, there are people around the league who believe the Raptors are currently the ‘frontrunners’ to land Lillard. In fairness, he also added that nothing is imminent or hot, suggesting that the Raptors and Blazers have simply held discussions.

Considering the Blazers aren’t even talking to the Heat at the moment, it’s easy to see why Toronto would be viewed as the ‘favorites.’ The big question falls on whether the Raptors would be willing to go all-in for Lillard. And essentially means, are the Raptors willing to include Scottie Barnes in a potential deal?

Aside from the fact that Lillard and his camp have tried to spread the idea that he doesn’t want to play in Toronto, there are the basketball questions that come with such a move too. Many are quick to compare the Lillard situation to the Kawhi one, but they are very different.

Kawhi was joining a team that was NBA Championship-ready. Lillard would not be. Even if the Raptors are able to keep OG Anunoby, Pascal Siakam, and Jakob Poeltl, the addition of Lillard may not even make them a top 3 team in the Eastern Conference.

If the Blazers want to trade Lillard before the start of training camp, something has to come to fruition fairly quickly. And it’s looking more and more like Toronto is a very real threat. Can they close the deal and will Ujiri ultimately decide to roll the dice on such a move?