Lillard Remains Loyal Despite Rough Blazers Season

Damian Lillard remains committed to the Trail Blazers regardless of what they do before the trade deadline, Jason Quick of The Athletic reports.

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.”

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16 thoughts on “Lillard Remains Loyal Despite Rough Blazers Season

    • amk3510

      Lol both former Rockets you spent all offseason bashing have turned out great for their teams (Melo and Howard). The Rockets sure wish they still had them around with their mediocre depth.

  1. joparx

    Lillard walking in as stone cold last night and not wavering in the face of tough times…dudes the man, not a Portland fan but maybe it’s about time I become one

    • It’s one bad season. This man single handily broke up the Russ and PG13 Thunder with one shot last year. He’s a certified stud. That said idk who else is paying him $50 million

    • Chief Two Hands

      I’m not a Portland fan by any means, but I am a fan of Lillard. One can be a fan of a given player without being a fan of the organization he is with. I am a fan of one team, but I am a fan of several individual players scattered throughout the league because I respect the way they play the game as well as their conduct on and off the court.

  2. Chief Two Hands

    I respect a player being loyal to an organization, and I like Lillard. It’s just too bad that his loyalty to the Blazers will keep him from ever getting a realistic shot at a championship. He will have to go elsewhere if he wants that opportunity.

    • spinach

      Portland is just about the biggest-spending team in the league, and they spend well more often than not. It’s a great place to win a championship.

      • The Blazers haven’t been realistic contenders during Lillard’s entire career, and there is no indication they will be while he is still playing. If it is such a great place to win championships, why haven’t they won since 1992 and not even come close since Shaq and Kobe knocked them out of the playoffs en route to their first championship together in 2000? Sorry, but the odds of Lillard even realistically competing for a championship with Portland are slim to none. Last season is likely as good as it will get for that franchise during Lillard’s career, and they were not realistic contenders to win the whole thing then.

  3. Otogar

    After last year’s deep run, it seemed Portland was just a couple moves away from being a real contender. Unfortunately they did just the wrong moves. Lillard looks like a level-headed guy and has a big heart. I’m sure most NBA fans like him, no matter what team they root for (except perhaps Westbrook’s fans).

    • It was great when Lillard waved goodbye to Westbrook after knocking the Thunder out of the playoffs.

  4. ZacharyH

    Unfortunately the moves Olshey has made are kinda pointless. He traded Batum for Vonleh and G Henderson. He let Wes Mathews, Aminu, Harkless, Napier leave in FA. All should have easily been kept. He traded Will Barton for Afflalo. Whiteside and Nurkic were pickups. I don’t think Olshey is a championship level GM

  5. Lillard just signed a DVE extension, so it would be bizzare if he was anything but loyal. I think he realizes that, by signing the contract, he’s pretty much wedded to the Blazers for the balance of his prime.

    • He has stated his desire to stay with Portland multiple times over the years.

  6. Jason Lancaster

    Lillard’s loyalty is admirable, but foolish. He should play on a great team and compete for a ring, not spend his career in Portland struggling.

    Even if this Portland team was 100%, would it be enough? Will it ever be?

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