The Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, Chicago Bulls, Toronto Raptors, and Philadelphia 76ers are among the teams interested in trading for Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard.
Of course, it seems the Minnesota Timberwolves are no longer pursuing the seven-time All-Star. In August, the Wolves reportedly offered Portland two-time All-NBA center Karl-Anthony Towns.
However, the Trail Blazers declined the offer. While the Miami Heat are still wanting Lillard, the Trail Blazers declined a trade package from them that included sharpshooter Tyler Herro and two first-round draft picks.
As for Chicago, the Bulls were rumored to enter the Lillard trade sweepstakes last week. Nevertheless, Portland is demanding more from Chicago than Zach LaVine and multiple first-round draft picks.
REPORT: The Raptors, Heat, Bucks, Celtics, Sixers and Bulls have all registered interest in Damian Lillard since his initial trade request.
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) September 26, 2023
“PHLY Sports’ Kyle Neubeck upped the ante late Wednesday by saying on his outlet’s podcast that the Bulls ‘might be trying to move LaVine as part of a multi-team deal just to see if they can get into the Lillard sweepstakes,’” The Athletic’s Kelly Iko wrote.
“Multiple league sources indicated throughout the offseason that the Trail Blazers showed little interest in acquiring LaVine directly, mostly because he doesn’t match their rebuilding path and commitment to a young backcourt of Scoot Henderson and Anfernee Simons.”
Although the Celtics are looking to add Lillard, it will be difficult. In July, Jaylen Brown agreed to a five-year supermax extension worth up to $304 million. This is the richest contract in NBA history. Boston would probably be unwilling to trade either Brown or Jayson Tatum.
Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, Chicago Bulls, Toronto Raptors, and Philadelphia 76ers are among the teams pursuing a trade for Damian Lillard; Raptors are most likely landing spot
At this juncture, the Toronto Raptors are more capable of offering the most appealing trade overture for Damian Lillard.
“A Raptors offer could include a package featuring players from a roster that includes two-time NBA All-Star Pascal Siakam, 2022 NBA Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes, forward O.G. Anunoby — who is eligible for a contract extension — and rookie sharpshooter Gradey Dick,” reported ESPN’s Marc J. Spears.
“The Blazers are intrigued about adding a young 6-foot-8 sharpshooter in Dick, a source said.”
Miami cannot compete with Toronto for Lillard. Plus, a three-team trade could also be in the works.
Two ‘really high ranking’ team executives believes the Toronto Raptors are the ‘frontrunners’ for Damian Lillard, per @MarcJSpears
“They wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up in the 6ix” pic.twitter.com/MMxAeeGRw4
— NBACentral (@TheDunkCentral) September 25, 2023
“By all accounts, the Raptors seem at least reasonably confident they can maneuver their way to the front of the line, past the Miami Heat — Lillard’s preferred destination — and ahead of a team such as the Nets, who have the draft picks to get something done if Portland is open to taking on the last two years of Ben Simmons’ contract,” said SportsNet’s Michael Grange.
Whichever team ends up trading for Lillard, one big factor to consider is his contract. The Trail Blazers star is owed $216.2 million over the next four seasons. The 11-year veteran is slated to earn $45.64 million in 2023-24 as well. Additionally, his salary will climb to $63.2 million by 2026-27.
The Celtics cannot afford Lillard without trading away either Tatum or Brown.
In 58 starts with the Trail Blazers in the 2022-23 season, Lillard averaged a career-high 32.2 points per game, along with 4.8 rebounds, 7.3 assists, and 36.3 minutes per game. Not to mention, he shot a career-high-tying 46.3% from the floor and 37.1% outside the arc.