For months, there was nothing to report on the Portland Trail Blazers-Damian Lillard trade front. Over the last 72 hours, though, things have changed dramatically. Now, its as if the Lillard rumors won’t slow down.
Dame requested a move out of Portland on July 1, and with the exception of a little gossip here and there, all talk has surrounded the seven-time all-NBA guard ending up with the Miami Heat.
If that’s where Lillard ultimately lands, it will take a third team to facilitate a deal, as the Blazers hold no interest in the Heat’s most attractive trade chip, 23-year-old guard Tyler Herro. There have been no concrete teams linked to Herro, though, so even coming up with fake trades that made sense was a difficult task.
As training camp approaches, a clearer picture is forming as to which teams are in on a Lillard trade and which teams could come to Miami’s rescue with an interest in bringing Herro aboard.
Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls now in on Damian Lillard trade
It’s been Miami-or-bust since day one, but now the Toronto Raptors and Chicago Bulls are “the two possible destinations for Lillard discussed most by league figures,” according to Jake Fischer of YahooSports.
Fischer billed Toronto one of the favorites to land the 33-year-old point guard:
"There are plenty of avenues to evaluate, which makes the Raptors one of, if not the most viable threats to land Lillard outside of the Heat — similar to the Cavaliers’ surprise acquisition of Donovan Mitchell last September.Jake Fischer of YahooSports on Damian Lillard rumors"
The NBA insider wrote that 2021-22 Rookie of the Year Scottie Barnes is off the table in any deal and added that the Blazers likely have no interest in acquiring veteran Pascal Siakam. That leaves OG Anunoby as a prime trade target, as well as rookie forward Gradey Dick, who Toronto chose with the 13th overall pick in June’s draft.
The Bulls have a real uphill climb on their hands if they want to make Portland a legitimate offer. Chicago would have to find a taker for guard Zach LaVine – who’s been unsuccessfully shopped around the league for months – and use the potential return assets to make a Lillard package more attractive to Portland.
Jazz, Bulls, Hornets, Nets interested in Tyler Herro as part of Lillard trade
If the Heat are hoping to increase its offer, Miami President Pat Riley will need to find a team willing to swap Herro for at least a first-round pick, which he would then re-route to Portland.
Fischer reports that the Utah Jazz, Bulls, Charlotte Hornets and Brooklyn Nets all hold some level of interest in the 2021-22 Sixth Man of the Year:
"If Portland ultimately does business with Miami, the Jazz — as well as the Bulls, Hornets and Nets — are considered a team interested in landing Tyler Herro from the Heat, sources said.Fischer on Tyler Herro trade rumors"
The Phoenix Suns have also thrown themselves directly into the mix as a team that could facilitate a deal, but Phoenix has the added intrigue of a team interested in sending former No. 1 overall pick Deandre Ayton to Portland in a swap for Jusuf Nurkic.
That may make the Suns a more attractive third team for the Blazers.
It feels like all Lillard rumors need to be taken with a grain of salt, at this point, but there’s no denying that there’s real action going on behind the scenes, and the end of The Damian Lillard Trade Saga seems near.