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Unexpected team has become a serious contender in Damian Lillard trade market

An unexpected team from the Eastern Conference has surprised other organizations with their “genuine” interest in making a blockbuster Damian Lillard trade.

We are just a couple of weeks away from the start of NBA training camps and most rosters around the league are set for the start of the new season. However, there is one major hammer yet to fall, and that is where Damian Lillard is playing in 2023-2024.

Related: Philadelphia 76ers looked into pairing Damian Lillard with Joel Embiid

The future Hall-of-Famer requested a trade to the Miami Heat in July, however, his preferred choice and his long-time team the Portland Trail Blazers have made little progress on a deal that sends Lillard to South Beach. That is why there have been rumblings of the Trail Blazers listening to other offers from teams besides the Heat.

Over the last week, there have been reports about a mystery team being a major player, as well as rumors of the Chicago Bulls possibly dangling two-time All-Star Zach LaVine in a blockbuster deal. However, a new report suggests another team that few would expect are serious contenders in the Lillard trade market.

Toronto Raptors becoming serious contenders in Damian Lillard trade market

damian lillard, toronto raptors
Credit: Alonzo Adams-USA TODAY Sports

On Sunday, NBA insider Marc Stein reported on his Substack that “The Toronto Raptors have convinced numerous teams around the league that their interest in trading for Lillard is genuine.” While some around the sport were skeptical due to the Raptors not pulling the trigger on big deals last year, it seems the organization may view Lillard as a game-changer move akin to acquiring Kawhi Leonard five years ago.

While that Toronto Raptors team was stronger, Lillard would have some high-level teammates to compete with if he were to join the likes of Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby next season. Assuming one of them isn’t a part of a potential deal.

However, as Stein notes, a trade still doesn’t fit the Raptors’ usual modus operandi since “Damian Lillard has so much time left on his deal and is said to be resolute in his stance to force a trade to Miami.”

The Raptors have all of their future first-round picks for the rest of this decade except for their selection in 2024.

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