The Toronto Raptors haven’t been shy about going after superstars in the past and Vegas doesn’t expect that to change anytime soon.
While Portland’s Damian Lillard hasn’t officially requested a trade — as had been reported — the 31-year-old All-Star certainly isn’t a lock to be back with the Trail Blazers next season after two straight first-round playoff exits.
“Right now I’m not sure what I’m going to do. What I can say is my intentions and my heart has always been set on being in a Trail Blazers uniform for my entire career,” Lillard said Friday. “But I think over time, you want to win it all. And I want to win it all in a Trail Blazers uniform. But we all have to be making strides toward that.”
Based on Portland’s salary cap and talent situation, there’s no clear path to championship contention. If the goal is to continue building around Lillard, the obvious move is trading away CJ McCollum, but the soon-to-be 30-year-old guard isn’t going to bring back the kind of player that puts Portland over the edge.
Alternatively, if the Trail Blazers decide to rebuild and trade Lillard, the Raptors are one of the favorites to bring in the six-time All-Star, according to BetOnline.
Right now, the New York Knicks are the favorite to land Lillard if he’s move at +160, conveying a 38.5% probability. They’re followed by the Philadelphia 76ers at +225 or a 30.8% probability. After that, Golden State, Miami, both Los Angeles teams, and Dallas round out the top seven. Toronto and Boston sit tied at +1200 implying a 7.7% chance.
While Toronto doesn’t have the type of win-now pieces to interest Portland, the Raptors have their full arsenal of draft picks including No. 4 this year and young players like OG Anunoby and Malachi Flynn that could pique the Trail Blazers interest. It’s still unlikely the Raptors pull off a deal for Lillard, but Masai Ujiri and Bobby Webster have certainly shown a willingness to make big slashes before.