- If not the Miami Heat, oddsmakers at sports betting sites have pegged the Toronto Raptors as the favorite to trade for Damian Lillard.
- The odds shift on Lillard’s next team comes on the heels of a report from ESPN’s Marc J. Spears that the Raptors are the front-runners for Lillard.
- The Heat are reportedly falling out of favor in trade negotiations for Lillard.
Five years after trading for Kawhi Leonard in a shocking NBA deal, the Toronto Raptors’ Masai Ujiri could have another blockbuster trade in the works. According to BetOnline, if Portland’s Damian Lillard isn’t traded to the Miami Heat, the Raptors are the front-runners at +125 odds to acquire the current Trail Blazer in a trade.
If Lillard doesn’t go to the Heat or remain with the Trail Blazers, the Raptors have an implied probability of 44.4 percent to trade for the 33-year-old point guard. Prior to the news breaking regarding the Raptors, the Boston Celtics had the next best odds to trade for Lillard behind the Heat.
However, the Celtics’ Lillard trade odds have since collapsed to +600 odds. The Celtics have the fourth-best odds and are now the fifth-likeliest team to successfully trade for Lillard. Ahead of the Celtics in the Dame sweepstakes odds are the Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, and then the Raptors.
The 76ers have the second-best odds behind the Raptors. With +325 odds, the Raptors are the only team close to even money to land the seven-time NBA All-Star. The 76ers have an implied probability of 23.5 percent to trade for Lillard, and then the odds significantly drop off.
Raptors’ Lillard Trade Odds Soar On Report
Why did the Raptors’ odds to trade for Lillard suddenly jump? It all boils down to what NBA insider Marc Spears was reportedly told by two high-ranking NBA executives.
“The hottest name I’m hearing right now is the Toronto Raptors,” Spears said on ESPN. “I talked to two really high-ranking team executives today, and they said that Toronto is the front-runner, and they wouldn’t be surprised if he ended up in the Six.”
Per Spears, the Trail Blazers and Ujiri have been in discussions surrounding a Lillard trade. At the moment, there is no evidence to corroborate Spears’ claims, but the betting markets have reacted to the report swiftly.
On July 1, it was revealed that Lillard had demanded a trade request from the Trail Blazers. The 33-year-old native of Oakland, California, has spent the first 11 years of his career in Portland. He has averaged 25.2 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 6.7 assists in his All-Star career.
Lillard is coming off a career-high with 32.2 points per game and matched his previous career-high 46.3 percent field goal percentage. There are some questions regarding teams trading away young prospects for an aging 33-year-old superstar, but Lillard is still playing at a high level.
In fact, the Trail Blazers are reportedly interested in Raptors’ rookie Gradey Dick. Dick was selected by the Raptors with the 13th overall pick of the 2023 NBA Draft. He has yet to play a game with the Raptors.
Trail Blazers Removing Heat From Trade Talks?
As reports of the Raptors and Trail Blazers were publicized, there were rumors that the Trail Blazers are no longer interested in trading Lillard to Miami.
This comes on the heels of statements from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and TNT’s Chris Haynes. Wojnarowski notes that the Heat have not been part of recent negotiations for Lillard:
“Those talks have intensified this week with Lillard. But still, there’s no trade imminent. So far the one element that has not been a part of these talks are the Miami Heat. But we know in trade talks, in conversations, that can change in one moment with one call.”
According to Haynes, the Heat have been frustrated with how the Trail Blazers have handled Lillard’s situation.
On the “This League Uncut” podcast, Haynes reported, “Portland is telling them to, ‘Bring us your best offer’. Miami would like to know what does Portland want and Miami is not getting that answer. And so they feel like things could be moving on a little bit quicker if Portland would say exactly what it is they want…”
Two anonymous NBA executives report that they expect Lillard to be traded prior to NBA media day. NBA media day is scheduled for October 2.