Northwest Notes: Lillard, Blazers, Wolves, Gee, Jazz

Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard avoided dropping any bombshells during a Q&A with Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, offering fairly cagey responses when Scotto asked about his thoughts on this year’s top prospects and where he sees himself in five years.

However, Lillard did give an interesting answer when asked about the importance of winning a championship. According to the Blazers star, while winning a title is at “the top of the list” in terms of his goals, it wouldn’t necessarily significantly change the way he views his own legacy.

“A championship would mean a lot to me, but in my personal opinion, if I don’t win it, it’s not the end-all, be-all to me,” Lillard said. “I wouldn’t be happy with it, but I think when you talk about other people’s perception, I think it’s extremely important to my legacy. It’s extremely important to me, but my opinion of me not winning wouldn’t be the same as others.”

Here’s more from around the Northwest:

  • Hannah Grauert, who worked from the Trail Blazers from 2007-17 and most recently spent time with Nike and Microsoft, will be the president of the club’s new G League affiliate, the team announced in a press release. Grauert will be overseeing the NBAGL franchise as a whole, not focusing specifically on basketball operations.
  • While Timberwolves president of basketball operations Tim Connelly isn’t ruling out the possibility of making a deal or two on draft night, he doesn’t anticipate a move that will shake up the roster in a major way, writes Chris Hine of The Star Tribune.“We have a core and we’re excited to run it back,” Connelly said. “… We’re pretty excited about our core. [Chris Finch] is an elite coach. Having the year under his belt and hopefully a healthy year, we think we can be pretty good.”
  • Former NBA wing Alonzo Gee is now part of the Timberwolves‘ front office, tweets Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News. Gee appeared in 417 NBA regular season games from 2009-17 and continued to play internationally until 2022.
  • As Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune relays, Jazz vice president of player personnel Bart Taylor shared his wide-ranging thoughts on the team’s draft preparation in general and the 2023 draft in particular. While Taylor made some interesting comments, he was tight-lipped when asked how many players are realistically in play for Utah at No. 9. “I mean, we have nine right now,” Taylor said. “One of them will be there. One of them I know will not be there, for sure.
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