Damian Lillard recently signed a contract extension with the Portland Trail Blazers that will keep him attached to the Rip City through 2025. Lillard has been very outspoken about his decision to remain with the Blazers and has provided interesting takes on why players decide to join superteams instead of chasing a title with their squads.
He recently explained why he signed a super-max extension with the Blazers, but also discussed why several players didn’t do the same, blaming external factors, including media, for this situation.
Players like Anthony Davis (Pelicans), Kawhi Leonard (Spurs), Kyrie Irving (Cavaliers) and Paul George (Pacers) requested trades away from the only teams that had a chance to offer so much money, taking his talents to others squad who had more chances to contend for the NBA title.
The All-Star point guard said on The Joe Budden Podcast:
“I think people walk away from it because of the media and s— like that. The outside influence, people talking about their legacy. 'He needs to do this. He needs to do that.' People kind of fall into it. So they say, ‘It’s not about the money. I want to win the championship. And I want to do this.’”
“Seriously, people make decisions based off of that.
“The pressure of other people saying, 'He needs to win. He should do this. He should do that and not be about the money.' But I don’t think just because you decide to stay and not pass up on that money, that don’t mean you ain’t trying to win it. When you’re 42 years old and your career over, and you ain’t won it, anyway, and you walked away from 60 million dollars more than what you got, they ain’t even going to be talking about you then. The joke is going to be on you.”
What Lillard says is a very interesting point. We have the case of Anthony Davis, who looked very happy to be part of the New Orleans Pelicans but ended up demanding a trade, landing in Los Angeles this summer. Perhaps the media didn’t do everything on this subject, but AD surely was influenced and convinced that staying in New Orleans wasn’t the best move for his career.
We’ll see if Lillard move of staying with the Blazers pays him off next season, as his team is one of the favorites to win the West after the good offseason they had.