The Trail Blazers held onto their draft picks instead of trading them for veteran help like Damian Lillard preferred, but Shams Charania of The Athletic (video link) said the star guard doesn’t plan to make any snap judgments about his future with the team (hat tip to Real GM).
“I’m told the timeline for when the future will land with Damian Lillard likely extends now between tonight and the start of free agency and into free agency,” Charania said on Stadium’s draft show.
Portland used the No. 3 selection to take G League Ignite star Scoot Henderson, who was considered a definitive top-three pick. The Blazers received trade overtures from several teams, including the Pelicans, Charania states. However, he didn’t specify if New Orleans was willing to include Zion Williamson or Brandon Ingram in its offer.
Lillard stated after the end of the regular season that he wasn’t interested in playing another year with a young, rebuilding franchise. He hasn’t asked for a trade, but teams throughout the league are reportedly monitoring the situation and preparing offers in case he does ask to leave.
There’s more on Lillard and the Blazers:
- Lillard appears to be in control of his future in Portland, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who said on the network’s draft coverage that the Blazers will only consider moving Lillard if he asks for a trade (hat tip to Real GM). “Damian Lillard has a decision to make,” Wojnarowski said. “… If he decides he wants a trade, I think the organization will accommodate him. But they don’t want to trade him.” Woj adds that the Blazers front office believes Henderson is more valuable than any return they could have gotten through a trade.
- General manager Joe Cronin said he had a “long talk” with Lillard on Tuesday about ways to improve the team, tweets Sean Highkin of Rose Garden Report. Cronin said Henderson “has a chance to be a transcendent player” and stated that he doesn’t believe Lillard is closer to leaving because of the team’s draft decisions. “He’s probably being more vocal than ever, but I don’t look at that as a negative,” Cronin said (Twitter link).
- Sources tell Chris Haynes of TNT and Bleacher Report that Lillard hasn’t been in touch with Blazers officials recently regarding the draft, free agency or his future with the team (Twitter link).