Western Notes: Lillard, Harris, Napier

Point guard Damian Lillard has been open about his desire to remain with the Blazers for his entire career. Speaking on Sirius XM today, Lillard emphatically dispelled any notion of him leaving Portland to join a “super team,” the way a number of high-profile NBA stars have done in recent years, Casey Holdahl of NBA.com relays. “If somebody wants to go join people and do that, it’s not against the rules, they can do it,” said Lillard. “It’s just more pressure to win when you do it. Some people say ‘Ah, they just joining up, they had to do this to win it,’ but we play to win it.  So when people do it, that’s they decisions. I wouldn’t do it, that’s just not who I am. I might have too much pride for that or be too much of a competitor where I couldn’t bring myself to do it. It also makes it more fun. You get to take a monster down and that’s always fun.

Here’s more from out West:

  • Spurs coach Gregg Popovich admitted that he feels a “little bit lonely” now that Tim Duncan is retired and no longer a member of the team, Michael C. Wright of ESPN.com writes. The coach reiterated his desire for his former player to remain with the organization in some capacity, Wright adds. “If he wants to scout a little bit or run a drill one day or take a week road trip with us, we’re open to whatever he wants,” Popovich said. “We’re hoping it will infect him a little bit and he’ll want to do more.”
  • Nuggets shooting Gary Harris suffered a groin strain during Monday night’s preseason game against the Raptors, Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post relays. Harris underwent an MRI today and it hasn’t been announced how long he’ll be in street clothes while recovering.
  • Lakers center Timofey Mozgov insists he’s healthy after dealing with knee injuries last season and says he’s ready to assume a heavy workload for his new team, Mark Medina of The Los Angeles Daily News relays.
  • Shabazz Napier, who was acquired from the Magic for cash considerations this summer, could prove to be a steal for the Blazers, Cody Sharrett of NBA.com writes. The point guard has made an impression on the coaching staff with his preseason work, Sharrett adds. “I’ve been impressed with him in training camp and in September,” coach Terry Stotts said Napier. “I think he’s a quality guard. He shoots the ball a little bit better than maybe I expected. He’s a smart player, he’s tough. I’ve been very impressed with his defense throughout September. I think you saw [at Fan Fest] and tonight, he can get a shot. He’s a good player.

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