Damian Lillard was one of the biggest stories in the NBA world on Friday. The Portland Trail Blazers star was the main character of a story that suggested he could be requesting a trade from his team if he didn't get the right help to compete and win in the Western Conference Finals.
The 30-year-old has tried and tried to lead his team to the promised land, making it to the Western Conference Finals in 2019 and nothing else. He hasn't had star teammates since 2015 but that hasn't been a problem for Dame. Well, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports claimed in recent hours that he could be thinking about requesting a trade from his first NBA franchise.
Simply put, Lillard has not received the help he needs to win a title in this era. As he turns 31 this summer and considering all he’s done for the franchise, a more aggressive, risky approach is needed in order to pair him with another bona fide star.
No one has ever questioned the fight in Lillard. But it is fair to ask if he’s been fighting the good fight alone.
After the Blazers took down the Brooklyn Nets to finish the week, Lillard was asked about the report and he admitted he saw it and the only thing that bothered him was the fact that people could think he had something to do with the report, which isn't the case.
Somebody reached out to me and mentioned it to me.
I took it for what it was. That’s his thoughts. I was kind of...what word should I use? Not irritated with him because he’s a writer. That’s what he does. I can’t expect him to not do his job.
But I know because of our relationship, that people would assume that I was tied to the story. I think that was the only thing that bothered me about it.
I lean on the fact that, me and Neil [President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey], if we have a conversation, I know that I can go into his office and walk in that door and tell him whatever I think. And we’ve had those conversations. Same with Terry [Head Coach Terry Stotts].
I think he was doing his job and for me, I just lean on people know who I am. Even with you guys... if you guys ask me a question, I answer it. I tell you what I think. I say how I feel. And most importantly, behind closed doors, the same goes for the people in our business.
Obviously it was no secret. I mentioned it to you guys, I think, in Utah. It’s been frustrating. I also mentioned to you guys that I haven’t been my most healthy this year. It’s probably been my most difficult season physically. I don’t think that’s no secret.
When I saw it, I knew what it was, but I take solace in the things I just mentioned. It is what it is.
If there's somebody loyal to his team, that's Damian Lillard. The All-Star point guard has made it clear he won't be joining any other star to win a championship like many players have done in the past.
It's very hard to imagine Dame playing with another team but this is the NBA and anything can happen in this league.