The Heat have long been viewed as the frontrunner to land Damian Lillard, in large part because Miami is his preferred destination.
However, outside of the Heat, the Raptors are one of the top contenders – “if not the most viable threat” – to trade for the Trail Blazers star, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. Fischer draws a comparison to the Donovan Mitchell deal last year, when the Knicks were long viewed as the favorite to land the All-NBA guard but the Cavaliers surprisingly traded for him instead.
A couple different reporters have cited the Raptors as a possible Lillard suitor, and Fischer suggests their interest is more than just cursory. Still, despite being involved in plenty of rumors over the past year, Toronto’s lack of actual moves has created skepticism around the league that the team will actually acquire Lillard, Fischer writes.
As for what Toronto would give up, OG Anunoby is a name worth watching, according to Fischer, but it’s unclear where the defensive stalwart would eventually land in a potential deal. Sources tell Fischer that Scottie Barnes is off limits and Pascal Siakam is unlikely to be involved, but first-rounder Gradey Dick could be included.
The Trail Blazers are focused on finding the “greatest possible return” for Lillard, sources tell Fischer, and have “strongly considered” the possibility of acquiring Suns center Deandre Ayton as part of a multi-team framework. Ayton’s potential involvement was first reported by John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 on Thursday night.
The Bulls are also interested in Lillard, Fischer confirms, but teams around the league — including Portland — aren’t excited about acquiring Zach LaVine, who has been available for a few months now, as Fischer has reported multiple times.