Damian Lillard’s trade request has reached a dead-end. Lillard told the Portland Trail Blazers he wanted to be traded more than a month ago. He told them he only wants to play for the Miami Heat. Weeks of posturing on both sides has led to little traction on a deal for one simple reason: Portland would only consider Miami’s best possible offer in return for the superstar guard, but the Heat don’t want to bid against themselves if they are truly the only team in the running.
Last week, the NBA issued a memo warning Lillard’s camp against saying he would only play for the Heat. There’s still a pathway to a deal between Portland and Miami, but the Blazers aren’t goin to pull the trigger until the Heat put everything on the table. The longer this drags on, the greater chance there is that another team could come in and trade for Dame before Miami does.
Miami’s best offer would include first round picks in 2026 (which requires the team amending the protections on a future pick owed to the Thunder), 2028, and 2030. It also includes rookie Jaime Jaquez, and matching salary in the form of some combination of Tyler Herro, Kyle Lowry, and Duncan Robinson. Can another realistic suitor for Dame beat that package? If the Heat aren’t going to make their best offer, another team should see if they can get Portland to bite.
Here are four offers from teams other than the Heat that could make sense for both sides. Note: we’re only including two-team trades here, even if an eventual multi-team deal is more likely. Think of this as a rough framework for a Dame deal rather than the exact pieces.
Brooklyn Nets’ best trade offer for Damian Lillard
The Nets have been considered a real contender for Lillard since the first rumblings of his trade demand. Brooklyn just got out of the superstar business last season by moving on from Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, but they still owe multiple future draft picks of their own to Houston for the James Harden deal, so it makes sense that they want to compete right away. Now armed with future picks from the Phoenix Suns and Dallas Mavericks, Brooklyn can both put together a good offer for Dame and surround him with a team of complementary 3-and-D style pieces that can give him a chance to win.
In this offer, the Nets are sending Phoenix’s first round picks in 2025 and 2027, along with Ben Simmons and Dorian Finney-Smith. How much those Suns picks are worth is certainly up for debate with Phoenix poised to be one of the best teams in the league this season, but it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if the Suns crashed-and-burned sooner rather than later. Simmons might be on the worst contract in the league right now, but Portland is in a position to absorb it as a rebuilding team, and could use a player with his skill set if the optimistic preseason reports actually come to fruition. Finney-Smith is also a player who could help Portland’s young backcourt of Scoot Henderson and Shaedon Sharpe grow into the best versions of themselves by providing floor spacing and defense.
Maybe acquiring Simmons makes this a total non-starter for the Blazers, but there is a potential pathway to a deal here if both sides want it enough.
Toronto Raptors’ best trade offer for Damian Lillard
The Raptors are committed to trying to win with their core group this year despite losing long-time point guard Fred VanVleet in free agency to the Rockets. Realistically, Toronto just isn’t good enough to compete in the East coming off a 41-41 season, but that could change quickly with deal for Dame. Lillard would fix Toronto’s three biggest problems: shot creation, three-point shooting, and point guard play. They have the pieces to pull off a deal even if the team is determined to hang onto Scottie Barnes.
In this trade, Toronto is sending first round picks in 2026 and 2028, along with OG Anunoby, Chris Boucher, and Thad Young to match salary. It’s possible Anunoby is the best Portland can land in a potential Lillard deal — he’s certainly better than anyone Miami can offer — and he’s also a wonderful fit on the wing for a young, rebuilding roster. The Raptors would be staring at an enormous payroll after Pascal Siakam gets his extension a year from now, but Toronto has the type of long, defensive-oriented supporting cast that could help Lillard thrive. I really like this deal for both sides.
New Orleans Pelicans’ best trade offer for Damian Lillard
The Pelicans were briefly on top of the West last season before Zion Williamson went down for the year. It’s hard to imagine a better fit for New Orleans’ roster than Lillard, who would give the team a jolt of playmaking and pull-up shooting, and could thrive both with or without Williamson on the floor. Portland won’t want to take back old friend C.J. McCollum in a deal, but that’s why they are the only team throwing in a third first round pick. It’s possible Portland could flip McCollum down a line for a player that better fits the Henderson-Sharpe tandem.
The Pelicans would face a similar problem to the one facing the Raptors in our hypothetical deal: an enormous payroll after Trey Murphy III is extended next year. Maybe New Orleans eventually moves off Brandon Ingram to make it work. A Lillard-Williamson pairing could be incredibly dynamic offensively if the Pelicans could somehow get and keep Williamson healthy.
Philadelphia 76ers’ best trade offer for Damian Lillard
The Sixers are the best fit for Lillard on this list, but they also have the worst trade package. Philadelphia only had one tradable first round pick in 2029. Tyrese Maxey is an electric young guard — yes, Dan Le Batard, he’s a lot better than Tyler Herro — but he’s also not a great fit on a Portland roster led by a bunch of guards in Henderson, Sharpe, and Anfernee Simons. With Sixers guard James Harden also issuing a trade request, there’s a chance a super complicated multi-team deal could be pulled off here, but coming up with one is above our pay grade.
Lillard and Joel Embiid would be a simply incredible pairing, and would remove the threat of the reigning MVP being the next superstar to request a trade like Dame. If anyone can figure out a way to get Dame to Philly, it’s Daryl Morey. The Sixers probably need to involve another team to get some more future picks in their offer, but Maxey is good enough to make Portland think about a deal if Philly can do that.