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Toronto Raptors Could Be A Surprise Team In The Damian Lillard Sweepstakes

PORTLAND, OREGON - MARCH 27: Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers reacts to a call during the second quarter against the New Orleans Pelicans at Moda Center on March 27, 2023 in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Amanda Loman/Getty Images)

This offseason, Damian Lillard has reportedly drawn interest from a number of Eastern Conference teams, not just the Miami Heat. Matt Moore, an NBA insider, stated on the Locked On NBA podcast that multiple teams, including the Toronto Raptors, have an interest in the All-Star guard.

“Everyone around the league knows the Raptors were amongst the teams.”

Matt Moore

This comes after Marc J. Spears of ESPN reported on Monday that an unidentified Eastern Conference team had discussions regarding a potential trade with the Portland Trail Blazers.

With Lillard wanting out and possibly only wanting to join Miami, there is a question of leverage. Some have speculated that the Raptors may end up with Tyler Herro and other Heat assets as part of a three-team trade. However, the Raptors may end up going for the big fish altogether.

The Raptors’ offer is believed to be focused around OG Anunoby because he is an upcoming free agent and would complement Portland’s group of elite young guards well. Pascal Siakam is probably not going to take part in these discussions, and Scottie Barnes isn’t on the table either.

It would be ludicrous to describe the Raptors as anything other than a contender for the Eastern Conference title if they acquire Lillard in a trade. Lillard, who is still among the top players in the NBA, is the boost this offense needs.

Although it seems doubtful that Lillard will play in Toronto because he supposedly prefers Miami over anything else, Kawhi Leonard overcame some initial resistance to succeed in Toronto. Lillard has the ability to join that same level.