Report: Raptors interest in Damian Lillard is real but a ‘bit overstated’

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The Toronto Raptors allegedly believe they can position themselves ahead of the Miami Heat and everyone else in negotiations for Portland Trail Blazers star point guard Damian Lillard.

But a recent report indicates that while Toronto’s interest in Lillard is real, it is also “overstated.”

“As multiple sources confirmed to TSN, the Raptors’ interest in Portland’s all-star guard is real, albeit ‘a bit overstated at this point,’” Josh Lewenberg wrote.

Lillard was selected with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft following a four-season stint playing college basketball at Weber State University. He averaged 11-plus points and three-plus rebounds per game in each of his four seasons as a member of the Wildcats.

The point guard’s best season of college basketball came during his senior season, the 2011-12 season. Lillard averaged 24.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.5 steals per game across 32 appearances with the Wildcats as a senior (all starts).

The 33-year-old has played 11 seasons in the NBA, all as a member of the Trail Blazers franchise. He averaged a career-high 32.2 points per game to go along with 4.8 rebounds and 7.3 assists per game in 58 appearances with the Trail Blazers during the 2022-23 regular season (all starts). Also, Lillard shot the ball with impressive accuracy from the field, seeing as he converted 46.3 percent of his field-goal attempts and 37.1 percent of his three-point attempts.

Those numbers were good enough for Lillard to earn an All-Star nod — the seventh of his pro career — as well as a spot on the All-NBA Third Team.

Despite Lillard’s fantastic 2022-23 regular season, the Trail Blazers missed out on the playoffs. They finished the regular season with a subpar 33-49 record, ahead of only the San Antonio Spurs and Houston Rockets in the Western Conference standings.

In Lillard’s decade-plus stint with the Trail Blazers, he has experienced limited postseason success. He has reached the Western Conference Finals just once, back in 2019. Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and the Golden State Warriors swept Lillard and the Trail Blazers in that series.

Despite Toronto’s interest in Lillard, it still seems only a matter of time until the floor general ends up being moved to the Heat.

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Jesse is a 23-year-old sports journalist with extensive experience covering the NBA.