Lillard signed a four-year, $196MM super-max extension last summer and isn’t having second thoughts about it despite Portland’s tough season. The Blazers have been hit hard by injuries and Lillard doesn’t see a big trade changing the team’s fortunes this season.
“That don’t have nothing to do with my commitment to the team,” Lillard told Quick. “I mean, it’s not like we are going to do something that is going to take us to the championship at this point. I think it’s more important for us to protect the assets we have, the guys who are going to be here and who are going to help us going forward. I don’t think it makes sense to sacrifice that just to make a desperate play.”
Lillard says he has a good relationship with GM Neil Olshey but doesn’t interfere with the front office’s business.
“I don’t like to be involved with (teammates’) futures and all that,” he said. “If it’s free agency, and (Olshey) wants to ask me about somebody — if I think they can help the team or what players I like or whatever? I’m more than happy. But you know, I stay out of Neil’s way. I let him do his job and I do mine. I will lose every game before I go in there and be like, ‘Trade this guy for that guy’ or anything like that.”
Lillard has been on fire lately, scoring a combined 108 points over the past two games. But the team is mired in 10th place in the Western Conference with a 19-27 record, a huge letdown after reaching the conference finals last season.
Lillard is hopeful the Blazers can still reach the playoffs but doesn’t see the need to sacrifice the future to make that happen.
“It’s been a tough season, but the season is not over,” he said. “We can make something of this season as we are, but it’s not worth, you know, saying ‘OK, let’s force something and go do something that at the end of the day doesn’t make sense.’ But that has nothing to do with my commitment. I said it after last game (vs. Golden State): I feel like I can find a way. I can weather the storm. I can go through hard times.”