With just a week to go for the training camp, the Toronto Raptors have emerged as NBA star Damian Lillard’s next possible destination. According to an ESPN report, the Raptors have managed to overtake the Miami Heat in trade negotiations for Lillard. The Raptors recently had conversations with the Portland Trail Blazers about Lillard but sources told ESPN that no deal has yet been finalised. Rumours have been rife about the Raptors sending former Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes to Portland in a trade which would involve Lillard. But quashing all such speculations, NBC claimed that the seven-time All-Star’s trade package will not include Barnes.
The ESPN report went on to claim that two NBA executives have said that Lillard is expected to be traded before the media day, which is October 2 for most of the NBA teams. Apart from the Raptors, other sides like Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers and Chicago Bulls are reportedly interested in roping in the 33-year-old.
While Portland Trail Blazers are understood to be interested in Barnes, it has been learnt that Toronto Raptors have not made the 22-year-old available. Barnes, who averaged 15.3 points per game last time, is reportedly considered by his franchise a key figure in the team.
According to media reports, a Raptors offer could very much include a package featuring players like two-time NBA All-Star Pascal Siakam, rookie sharpshooter Gradey Dick and forward O.G. Anunoby, who has a chance of a contract extension. As per ESPN, sources have informed that Blazers are keen on adding a young 6-foot-8 sharpshooter like Dick.
When asked about the chances of joining his hometown side, the Golden State Warriors, Lillard said on ‘It Is What It Is,’ “I respect what they’ve been doing over the last eight, nine years or whatever, and I’m from there, obviously. That’s home. But I can’t go be a part of that. They won four championships. What I look like going to try to do that?”
Damian Lillard had requested a trade earlier this year and the All-Star guard reportedly wanted a move away to the Miami Heat. Though, it has been learnt that in the last three months no substantial trade talks took place between the two NBA sides. The Heat did come up with a trade package but Portland Trail Blazers did not reportedly like the offer. The Heat’s offer for Lillard, who averaged 32.2 points and 7.3 assists last season, was understood to have included Tyler Herro and two first-round draft picks.