Could the countdown officially be on? There is seemingly more traction than ever before for the Portland Trail Blazers to complete a Damian Lillard trade, so much so that multiple NBA general managers are setting a timetable for his long-awaited departure from Rip City. Blazers fans could be thrust into a brave, new era very soon.
“I also hear from those same GMs that they don't expect [Damian Lillard] to end up being in Portland on Media Day on Monday,” ESPN's Marc J. Spears told NBA Today on Monday, via ClutchPoints. They think he'll be gone.”
"I also hear from those same GMs that they don't expect [Damian Lillard] to end up being in Portland on Media Day on Monday. They think he'll be gone."
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) September 25, 2023
Spears also touched on the growing rumors that the Toronto Raptors could be the team to land the perennial All-Star, saying that there is definite interest but still a long way to go before a trade is finalized. It appears plausible that Toronto president of basketball operations Masai Ujiri can pull off a blockbuster before next Monday. He has worked some magic before, after all.
Fans have a superstar appetite after the acquisition of Kawhi Leonard directly led to a historic championship run in 2019. The fact that the Raptors have even reached this point of the negotiation process proves they are serious about restoring those past title aspirations. The Blazers will not be easily pleased, though, judging by their unsuccessful talks with the Miami Heat.
Regardless of where Lillard lands in the immediate future, Portland basketball is going to feel this move for a long time. It goes well beyond the court, as the 33-year-old formed a lasting connection with the city and its patient fan base. Many will thank him, some will curse him out and others will just want to grieve.
Once a trade is finally completed, the healing process can properly begin. That time appears to be quickly approaching.