ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on NBA Today that additional assets such as draft capital could sway the Blazers to facilitate a deal not involving the Miami Heat.
“Can they pick up a couple draft picks to take on some money? Is there a need they have that they can get in a three or four team trade? So Portland – they’re exhausting all of those conversations this week and they’re certainly behaving like a team that wants to get a deal done, that’s trying to get a deal done before training camp.”
The Raptors have had their name float around the rumor mill involving Lillard, though nothing has manifested. Pascal Siakam and Gary Trent Jr. are both expected to be free agents next summer.
Siakam would bring All-Star value to a team lacking in inside presence while a reunion between Trent and the Blazers would give Portland a shooting guard that finished No. 11 among all players a year ago with 1.6 steals a night.
Jakob Poeltl is under contract for $20 million a year until 2026-27, yet making a play for the Austrian center along with Siakam could bolster their frontcourt depth at center.
Though 41-41 last season, Toronto struggled shooting from outside, as they made the third-fewest three-point field goals in 2022-23 with 880. They also finished No. 23 league wide with 11.7 assists per game.
Should Lillard remain adamant in his stance to want out, the start of the 2023-24 NBA season is right around the corner and it would behoove the Blazers to get a deal done prior to opening night to establish camaraderie with a new cast out of the gate.
No reports have been unearthed regarding Lillard wanting to play for anyone other than the Heat, but if the right deal materializes, Blazers general manager Joe Cronin will likely pull the plug.
Nonetheless 13 of the 19 players they have under contract are 24-years-old or younger, which doesn’t make them desperate for young talent as their franchise player warrants a haul or something close to it.