Damian Lillard’s trade desire stuck with conflicting reports as NBA Draft arrives

Draft day is finally here. Every year this day/week is filled with rumors of potential trades. Most years, these rumors are just that: rumors. This year, however, seems to be an exception to the rule. This week we have already had two monster trades – one sends Bradley Beal to Phoenix Suns and another manufacture Marcus Smart a member of Memphis Grizzlies.

And those deals fell on non-draft days. Now imagine what could go down today. The day of the NBA draft. Guess what? You don’t actually have to imagine it, because we’re going to collect the biggest rumors right here.

See our latest mock draft here. Let’s dive into the latest rumours.

Conflicting reports on potential Damian Lillard trade demand

Despite rumors that Miami heat was wooing his services, it looks like Damian Lillard wants to stay in Portland and continue playing for the only NBA franchise he’s ever known. The Blazers have closed trade talks, according to Woj.

Meanwhile, ESPN colleague Brian Windhorst reported that rival teams are preparing offers for Lillard, with Portland expected to spend their No. 3 overall pick on a young player rather than trade him:

It seems like the kind of news that should elicit a deep sigh of relief Portland Trail Blazers’ fans, but not so fast. Remember, the Blazers still have the third pick in today’s draft. The pick that could end up being highly coveted G League Ignite guard Scoot Henderson.

What happens if the Blazers don’t trade the draft pick and just select Henderson? Does Lillard look like that? What happens if they trade to get Lillard some help? How good does that version of Portland look? One way or another, tonight is going to be a big night for the Blazers.

Is Toronto going to tear it all down?

If the Blazers trade the third overall pick, one team we keep hearing about as a potential suitor could be Toronto Raptorswho may be willing to unload Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby in a package involving the pick.

However, according to reporting from Chris Haynes, it appears the Blazers may not be the only team in pursuit of Toronto’s two forwards. It seems like Sacramento Kings is also interested in acquiring tandem in a trade.

This is what Haynes had to say on one latest episode of “What’s Chad doing?” podcast: “Well, you know the Blazers have been rumored [Siakam], [Anunoby] also over there in Toronto,” Haynes said. “… Sacramento is also in the hunt for those two guys in Toronto.”

What do the Kings have to offer in a potential trade with the Raptors? Can they make a deal that keeps the De’Aaron Fox/Kevin Huerter/Domantas Sabonis/Malik Monk core intact? What would losing this trade partner mean to the Blazers and their chances of keeping Lillard?

The Magic are making some of their youth available

As it says, is Orlando Magic currently owns the sixth and eleventh overall picks in today’s draft. And there have been some reports suggesting that if they use these picks to select one of (or both) Ausar Thompson and Anthony Black (our mock has them selecting Ausar Thompson and Gradey Dick with these picks) , they could be looking to move Cole Anthony and/or Jalen Suggs.

Anthony and Suggs are both still young (23 and 22, respectively) and still boast a lot of promise (especially Suggs, who was the 5th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft). It will be interesting to see which teams end up asking for their services if one or both of them become available.

Malcolm Brogdon may be untradeable

As we already mentioned, Smart is now a member of the Grizzlies. But the reason he is a member of the Grizzlies is because Los Angeles Clippers didn’t want to go through with it original three-team deal that Celtics negotiated that would have sent Malcolm Brogdon to Los Angeles.

The reason the Clippers backed out is because they were concerned about Brogdon’s health. At first, it might not seem like too big of a deal. After all, the Clippers already have enough injury issues to deal with between Paul George and Kawhi Leonard. It would make sense that they wouldn’t want to add more to their plate in that regard. But then we got this report from Brian Windhorst:

(At least now it makes sense why he struggled so mightily during the Eastern Conference Finals against Miami.)

But in any case, this is concerning if you’re the Celtics because you need Brogdon to fill the offensive void left by Smart’s departure. And if he can’t, you need to be able to move him to someone who can (and obviously that’s not something they can really do right now).

Hopefully all this talk about his health is overblown and Brogdon will be ready for the start of the 2023-24 NBA season.

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