Lillard Met With Blazers’ Owner To Discuss Team’s Direction

Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard met last Thursday with team owner Paul Allen to discuss the direction of the franchise, league sources tell ESPN’s Chris Haynes. According to Haynes, Lillard requested the meeting in order to reaffirm his commitment to the club and to receive assurances that Allen remains devoted to putting together a championship-caliber roster.

League sources tell Haynes that Allen was worried in the weeks leading up to the meeting that his star point guard would ask for a trade, but Lillard made no such request. Per ESPN’s report, the 27-year-old did make it clear during the sitdown that he “desperately” wants to win a title in Portland, inquiring about how the Blazers’ brass plans to try to make that happen during his prime years.

The meeting represents the first time that Lillard and Allen have sat down privately to discuss the state of the franchise, but Haynes’ sources described it as a productive session that could lead to more meetings in the future. No one else in the organization was aware of the meeting until after the fact, when Allen informed both the basketball and business operations staffs, according to Haynes.

Haynes’ report also provides a few details on topics discussed during the sitdown, noting that Lillard gave head coach Terry Stotts a “heartfelt vote of confidence.” However, the point guard questioned the front office’s decision to trade Will Barton in 2015, making it known that he disagreed with the move. Conversely, Allen sought an explanation from Lillard for the Blazers’ inconsistent play in the first half of this season. Lillard and Allen also talked about possible trade targets, Haynes notes.

Lillard remains under contract through the 2020/21 season and has shown no desire to leave Portland, but requesting a meeting with ownership signals that he’ll be monitoring the front office’s roster moves closer than ever going forward. With Lillard, C.J. McCollum, Evan Turner, Maurice Harkless, and Meyers Leonard all locked up to eight-figure salaries through at least 2019/20, the Blazers don’t have a ton of cap flexibility, so it will be interesting to see how president Neil Olshey and his staff look to upgrade the club’s roster at the deadline and in the offseason.

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9 thoughts on “Lillard Met With Blazers’ Owner To Discuss Team’s Direction

  1. I’d love to see the Blazers land Big Cuz

    I’d hate for Dame’s career to be another also-ran… He has too much fire and talent.

    Paul Allen can afford to be in luxury tax mode for the rest of Lillard’s prime.

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    • I doubt New Orleans lets Cousins walk for nothing (unless he says he doesn’t want to resign) and a trade is basically off the table unless the Blazers are willing to offer CJ McCollum (since there is really not much else value on the roster aside from Lillard and maybe Nurkic who isn’t close to the same value as McCollum). I agree Paul Allen should be willing to get into the luxury tax, and he probably is willing, but the team has to make smarter moves first. They have something like $120m locked up in Lillard, McCollum, and a bunch of role players. Portland is really limited in their moves until some of their contracts expire/are one year away from expiring.

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      • x%sure

        Their only FA signing will be to pay Nurkic finally, and they had better get at least that done. That’s about all they can do. It does NOT sound like Lilliard was told that or he would not be so positive about the meeting. If it was really a clear-the-air meet he would have been told his buddy and duplicate McCollum needs to go.
        The trade for K.Love should have been made last summer, it’s ideal, it could still happen, though less profitably in miseason probably. Otherwise Portland treads water. Love is from there and will take the team seriously and balances their attack.
        Utah is also showing signs of being a Love buyer but they might be quicker about it.

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  2. Lionel Muggeridge

    Paul Allen better do something or Lillard might give Patrick Bateman a call

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  3. acarneglia

    What was the Barton trade I don’t remember?

    Also I’d love to see Lillard in the East where he could get the recognition he deserves as one of the leagues best PGs

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    • DVail1979

      Barton two other players and a first round pick to Denver for Afflalo and Gee

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      • yoyo137

        Basically the worst trade ever. Got Afflalo even though we didn’t need him (Matthews didn’t tear his achilles yet, McCollum was ready to break out) and he went on to be a much worse version of Gerald Henderson (and soon enough, Evan Turner) Traded part of our young core (Barton) plus a 1st round pick for the aforementioned TRASH CAN named Afflalo, who will flame out of the league like the terrible player he is, throwing hands at Bjelica because he knows his career is OVER, he knows he’s been overpaid to be GARBAGE his whole life. Afflalo please go to the UFC i would love to see someone choke you out or knock the shhhhh out of you

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  4. Dionis

    Since Love is not wanted in Cleveland make a move for him. As good as CJ is Dame needs someone who fits in better with him, I have been saying it for years that Kevin Love has been misused on the Cavs since he got there. Bring over Kevin,JR, and that Cleveland pick for CJ and Aminu. Both teams win, Portland gets a superstar in Kevin Love who has had his career ruined by Lebron being regulated into a spot up shooter plus they get JR who has also been regulated into a spot up option for Lebron to start alongside Dame and a pick for the coming draft. Lebron gets his Kyrie in CJ to bail him out on offense in the clutch, Love does not deserve what is happening to him in Cleveland. The man has done everything the organization has asked of him playing center when he is a forward sacrificing for the team and to appease Lebron’s play style and this is what he gets? Free the man.

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