Raptors Were Deep In Talks For Damian Lillard Before Pulling Out

Toronto Raptors, Portland Trail Blazers, Damian Lillard, NBA trade rumors
NBA Analysis Network

The Toronto Raptors were deep in talks to acquire Damian Lillard from the Portland Trail Blazers before ultimately pulling out, according to NBA insider Matt Moore of The Action Network.

It doesn’t appear the Raptors will acquire Lillard, who has requested a trade from the Blazers and wants to get traded to the Miami Heat.

The Raptors convinced teams that their interest in trading for Lillard was genuine, according to NBA insider Marc Stein. However, it’s believed Lillard is resistant to the idea of becoming a Raptor.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers, Toronto Raptors Updates

“The Toronto Raptors have convinced numerous teams around the league that their interest in trading for Lillard is genuine,” Stein wrote in his latest NBA trade column. “The uncertainty at this point stems more from gauging Toronto’s true willingness to push all the way forward with its Lillard pursuit when it’s believed that the All-Star guard, behind the scenes, remains so resistant to the idea of becoming a Raptor.”

Lillard still wants the Blazers to trade him to the Heat despite the NBA’s initiative to warn Lillard and his agent that any further comments made “suggesting Lillard will not fully perform the services called for under his player contract in the event of a trade” will be subject to discipline, according to NBA insider Shams Charania of The Athletic.

In the summer of 2018, the Raptors acquired Kawhi Leonard from the San Antonio Spurs despite Leonard making it known behind the scenes he wanted the Spurs to trade him to the Los Angeles Lakers or Los Angeles Clippers. Masai Ujiri took a huge risk trading for a player who didn’t want to play in Toronto.

The gamble paid off, as Leonard guided the Raptors to the 2019 NBA championship over the Golden State Warriors in six games. Even though Leonard left for the Clippers in the summer of 2019, the 2019 title lives on forever.

Some people around the NBA thought Ujiri could recreate his Leonard magic with Lillard, who averaged 32.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 7.3 assists last season for the Blazers. However, Lillard is under contract for several more years; Leonard had the option of becoming a free agent after his one year in Toronto.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers, Toronto Raptors Updates

Lillard signed a two-year, $121.7 million extension with the Blazers in July 2022. He’ll make $45.6 million next season.

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About Ashish Mathur 3000 Articles
Ashish is an NBA writer for NBA Analysis Network. He has been featured on many publications, including Heavy.com, ClutchPoints, Sportscasting and Celtics Wire. You can follow Ashish on Twitter @amathur25.