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Portland Trail Blazers reportedly targeting star big man from West rival in potential Damian Lillard trade

The Portland Trail Blazers are looking for the best return possible in a potential Damian Lillard trade, and that reportedly includes targeting one of the better centers in the Western Conference as part of a possible return.

The Damian Lillard trade saga is in its third month and only growing in interest with training camps for the 2023-2024 NBA season set to open soon. Yet little has changed since the seven-time All-Star requested a trade in July. He still prefers to play for the Miami Heat this season and the Portland Trail Blazers are not enamored with what the Heat can give them back in a deal.

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That is why there have been rumblings over the last week of the organization having conversations with other interested teams besides Miami. While that is certainly risky with rumors claiming Lillard could sit out of camp for other teams or request another trade to the Heat, it is understandable if Portland is doing their due diligence to get the best return for the team legend.

In recent days the Toronto Raptors and Chicago Bulls have been linked to a possible trade for the future Hall-of-Famer, however, a new report claims the Phoenix Suns could be a part of a multi-team deal that does not see them acquiring Lillard.

Portland Trail Blazers looking to get Deandre Ayton back in Damian Lillard trade

portland trail blazers
Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday, Yahoo Sports NBA insider Jake Fischer reported that “One piece of the developing Lillard negotiations that seems clear: Portland has strongly considered acquiring Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton as part of a multiteam deal for Lillard.”

The benefit in the deal for the Suns reportedly would be to get Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic in return. Nurkic would cost half the price of Ayton against the team’s salary cap, and moving Ayton could be seen as an addition-by-subtraction move since he and the organization have not had a good relationship over the last couple of years.

Although, when healthy Nurkic is a rock-solid replacement who offers similar stats as Ayton in being a player that can put up near a double-double in points and rebounds on a consistent basis.

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