Besides a Western Conference Finals appearance last season, the Portland Trail Blazers have struggled to find any real success in the playoffs.
By now, it seems almost abnormal that their two stars, Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, have remained with the team considering their lack of success. Any other star likely would have bolted years ago.
So what's keeping them loyal to RIP City?
In a chat with USA Today, the famous backcourt duo spoke about why they will not join the league's biggest new trend.
"I don’t care what the trend is," Lillard told USA TODAY Sports. "Players are taking control of the power and influence they have. I don’t have an issue with it because there’s been times in the league that players didn’t have that and players were taken advantage of and put in tough situations. So I understand it. But I play for a great organization. I play for a great coach. I love where I live. I have a great situation."
McCollum says is focus lies on improving himself and helping his team.
"Everybody has the right to make the decision that they feel is best for themselves, That’s the way the league has gone," McCollum told USA TODAY Sports. "But I’m indifferent. I really just work on myself and work on how I can get better for our team."
"They’d rather be a really important player on a very successful franchise than to go team up with other players just for the sake of making their lives easier," Portland general manager Neil Olshey told USA TODAY Sports. "They know the challenges we face as a small market with player acquisition and retention. But they take the responsibility to help build an environment."
While the team really has nothing to show for their success, they have built a culture of excellence that stems from their stars. In a drama-free environment, where the focus is on basketball, these guys are keeping Portland in contention year after year. They are fighting to bring a Championship to the city -- the hard way. And they will likely continue to do so until Father Time finally calls their number.
Of course, nobody would expect anything less at this point.