The 76ers have a new big competitor in the Damian Lillard sweepstakes

Damian Lillard, Tyrese Maxey - Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports
Damian Lillard, Tyrese Maxey - Credit: Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports /

The 2023-24 NBA season is just a flick away, but the Philadelphia 76ers are not done trying to shake up the roster just yet. One of the handful of teams linked to Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, it appears that the front office will have some more jockeying to do in order to stand out in the sweepstakes for the All-Star.

As things currently stand, the Miami Heat are still technically the favorites to land Lillard. While Portland has not been moved by any of their reported offers so far, Lillard’s sole preference is to be traded to the South Beach, though the Trail Blazers brass appear to be unerring in its hunt to get the best return package possible.

The Philadelphia 76ers have a new big competitor for Damian Lillard

Everything’s just a rumor at this juncture, but it appears that the Toronto Raptors have emerged as an up-and-comer in the bidding war for Lillard’s services. Sportsnet’s Michael George recently bared that Toronto is pretty much in the mix for the superstar, and its front office is reportedly confident about overtaking even Miami in the race.

The Raptors have not clearly defined their preferred direction yet as a franchise, but given the fact that they retained most of their core players, it’s safe to assume that they are not interested in a full-blown rebuild and would like to remain competitive in the East.

Now, the 76ers are probably just awaiting if the Trail Blazers eventually lower their asking price for Dame — which is unlikely — as the team has repeatedly interjected that Tyrese Maxey, Portland’s desired piece in a hypothetical trade with Philly, remains untouchable for good reason.

Quite frankly, the Heat and the Raptors probably have a better shot at trading for Lillard than the 76ers, though the Blazers front office has already seemingly angled in a way that would make them be more cordial to trading with Philadelphia should Maxey become available.

Ultimately, with the James Harden situation still unsorted out, the Philadelphia 76ers cannot be faulted for trying to bolster the roster with another star next to Joel Embiid, the reigning MVP. At this rate, the Damian Lillard sweepstakes could very well percolate into the season and will be one of the biggest narratives to watch out for early on.

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