Damian Lillard shoots down trade rumors almost every single month. Still, it's never long before a new one appears.
On Saturday, Jusuf Nurkic was forced to defend his teammate once again after one media source spread a Dame trade narrative. Here's what he said:
“Not sure why I see this one. Dave you bored or wanting another job… But to think this is right??...”They gotta get rid of Dame first, that’s the biggest piece to go … I’ve said it before. They’ve got to trade Dame, start the rebuild."
Lillard has reaffirmed his loyalty plenty of times before. Despite residing in a small franchise, that has struggled to stay competitive, he has avoided the temptation to jump ship.
"You don’t know when that moment or breakthrough is going to come," said Lillard. "Especially if you’ve done things the right way for so long, which I have. I’ve treated people the right way, I’ve done things the right way, I haven’t skipped steps. My process, which is why I’ve been able to get better each year of my career. I think something that’s important people realize is that it’s a business. Everybody’s like, “Oh this person’s loyal, that person’s loyal.” They kind of throw that word around loosely. But, for me, I’m loyal to what I believe. I do love living in Portland. I do love playing for the Trail Blazers. But I’ve built this. I’ve been part of this for 10 years. I’ve been part of the change here and us being a successful franchise. I know what means something to me in my heart. And that’s winning a championship here. That’s why I’m so committed to that. And that’s my personal feelings. That’s being loyal to how I feel and how I operate. It is what it is. That’s what I want to see happen and I remain just committed to that as long as that’s the goal, that’s the plan."
Over his 9 year career, Lillard has established himself as one of the best players Portland has ever had. Despite a lack of playoff success, his talents have kept the franchise relevant since his arrival.
Until he wins a Championship, fans and analysts will always question his future in Portland. So far, they have failed to surround him with enough quality role-players. Hopefully, sometime soon, he's able to prove to the world that he can win as a member of the Trail Blazers and that he is capable of bringing him a title.
No doubt, a guy like Jusuf Nurkic will have his back every step of the way.