Lowe’s Latest: Lillard, Harden, Raptors, Bucks

There has been no forward momentum on the Damian Lillard front, ESPN’s Zach Lowe and Bobby Marks said on the latest episode of The Lowe Post podcast (YouTube link). The Trail Blazers guard requested a trade over two months ago, but the team doesn’t seem any closer to making a deal today than it was at the start of July.

“I’ve heard there’s been nothing. No meaningful dialogue at all,” Lowe said. “More pointedly… I just don’t think there’s been another team. If there is, I don’t know about it. That could very well the case, I may not know. But I have not heard of any other team that has really dove head-long – or even halfway – into the Dame Lillard sweepstakes.”

Marks also hasn’t heard any rumblings about any team besides the Heat that’s prepared to make a run at Lillard, and agreed that Portland and Miami don’t appear to have had substantial discussions or made any progress toward a deal.

“It’s been very quiet, certainly, from the Miami front,” Marks said. “I think the only way we hear more about Dame is if Dame makes it messy. And I don’t think Damian Lillard right now is willing to make it messy in Portland.”

Here are a few more highlights from The Lowe Post:

  • As is the case with the Heat and Lillard, the Clippers still appear to be the only viable suitor for Sixers guard James Harden, according to Lowe. “I know that Howard Beck and others have stated that there may be two or three other teams that have been sniffing, investigating,” Lowe said. “Certainly, if you talk to the Sixers, they have reason to say, “Oh, there’s a broad, frothy James Harden market out there.’ I really don’t think there is. I think it’s been mostly the Clippers.” However, Lowe added that the teams haven’t had “a whole lot of dialogue” in the last couple months.
  • While there has been some skepticism that the Clippers are able to offer the sort of package that would appeal to the Sixers for Harden, Lowe believes that Daryl Morey and the Philadelphia front office would be willing to pull the trigger if Los Angeles made the right draft assets available, since those could be flipped for an impact player. “If the Clippers were to put both (of their tradable) first-round picks in, even without (Terance Mann), I think there’s a two-team deal that exists that the Sixers would do,” Lowe said. “I don’t think the two teams have been anywhere close to any of that kind of deal, which is why I think the only play I see for the Sixers here is bring him to camp, hope…he plays pretty well, and the Clippers and some other teams with high expectations sputter over their first 20 games and get desperate.”
  • Lowe suggests he wouldn’t be surprised if the Raptors make some sort of move in the next six weeks, noting that the team still has multiple key players entering contract years (including Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby) and has yet to complete an extension for Gary Trent Jr. that was rumored to be close back in June. “A lot of balls in the air for the Raptors,” Lowe said.
  • Marks and Lowe both believe that the Bucks‘ handling of Jrue Holiday‘s contract situation when he becomes extension-eligible in February could be a crucial domino that affects Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s future. Holiday can opt out of his current contract and become a free agent next summer if he doesn’t sign a new deal before then.
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