REPORT: Damian Lillard Trade Expected,5 Teams Named As Likely Candidates

Total Pro Sports
Portland Trail Blazers' star Damian Lillard looks on.
PORTLAND, OREGON – JANUARY 22: Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers looks on during the third quarter against the Los Angeles Lakers at Moda Center on January 22, 2023 in Portland, Oregon. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

A Damian Lillard trade is reportedly inching closer, with the Phoenix Suns apparently emerging as a front-runner to land the future Hall of Famer.

It’s been close to three months now since the 33-year-old Lillard requested a trade from the Portland Trail Blazers, the only NBA team he’s ever known. Lillard is still on the roster with preseason play now less than three weeks away.

For starters, Suns insider John Gambadoro said that he expects Lillard to be dealt “probably within the next 24 hours.”

Furthermore, Gerald Bourguet of reports that five teams are “the most active” in Lillard trade talks: The Suns, Philadelphia 76ers, Miami Heat, Toronto Raptors and Chicago Bulls:

“According to multiple sources who spoke PHNX Sports‘ Flex from Jersey, trade talks from the most active teams — Philadelphia, Miami and Portland, as well as the Toronto Raptors and Chicago Bulls — are heating up…and many of them view the Suns as a team that could push a potential blockbuster deal across the finish line.

While the Suns lack the assets and/or contracts to trade for Lillard or (James) Harden themselves, one source referred to the Suns as a “mystery team” in regards to their potential involvement. Another called them a “dark horse” to help facilitate a deal as an additional party.”

It’s been reported by numerous outlets and insiders that Lillard’s preference is to join the defending Eastern Conference champions in Miami. But of course, the Trail Blazers aren’t at all obligated to trade Lillard to the Heat, and there are several teams with more young assets to offer compared to Pat Riley’s group.

Phoenix already made one blockbuster trade this offseason, acquiring All-Star guard Bradley Beal to complete a new “big three” with Kevin Durant and Devin Booker. If they found a way to add Lillard to that offense, the Suns would be the runaway favorites to win the 2024 NBA Championship.

In 58 games last season, Lillard averaged 32.2 points, 4.8 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game.

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