The Trail Blazers have had one of the NBA’s quietest summers, having not made a single free agent signing until officially inking Archie Goodwin to a camp deal today. On the trade front, Portland’s only major move involved dumping Allen Crabbe‘s exorbitant contract on the Nets — the Blazers acquired Andrew Nicholson in that trade, but subsequently waived him.
Of course, while the Blazers’ cap situation limited their ability to pursue impact free agents, the team’s star guards – Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum – made an effort to recruit a trade candidate. Carmelo Anthony has been unwilling to waive his no-trade clause to join the Blazers, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying from Lillard and McCollum.
Speaking to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, Lillard admitted that he doesn’t love “doing all the extra recruiting” adding that he didn’t want to press Anthony. Despite the fact that Carmelo “didn’t seem opposed” to the idea of playing in Portland, according to Lillard, there has been no indication that a trade between the Blazers and Knicks is a viable possibility.
Lillard expanded on that subject and addressed a few other topics in his conversation with Spears, which includes details on his community work and is worth checking out in full. Here are some of the highlights from the Blazers’ point guard:
On recruiting Carmelo Anthony to waive his no-trade clause for the Trail Blazers:
“I guess they call it tampering or whatever. It’s not against the rules for us to interact with each other. We all peers, we all play in the same league and everybody hints at playing with each other. ‘What you think about this?’ ‘What do you think about that?’ All that matters is whether it got done or did not get done. Or hasn’t got done, and it hasn’t got done. So, it is what it is …
“I’m not giving up on anything. I just think I’ve done what I can do. And camp is a few weeks away. And you have to focus on getting ready with who we are, plan on going in as we are. Whatever changes, the front office will be the ones making that change, with the Knicks and our front office or whatever. But I get my mind focused on what I can control at a certain point.”
On the offseason upgrades made by division and conference rivals:
“It’s tough. The West is tough as always. I think a lot of teams in the West got better on paper, and at the end of the day, things have to work out. A lot of things look good, but it still got to work out. You got to make it work. So, we’ll see how that go.”
On the Trail Blazers’ outlook for 2017/18:
“I got a lot of confidence with everybody on our team. We still got a young team. Obviously, we could improve in a lot of areas as a group. With all the struggles we had last year, we still found a way to get it done and to get into the playoffs, which is what every team goes into the season and tries to get done. So, we make the improvements that we need to make collectively on the defensive end, and just being able to do things at a high level consistently. We should be pretty good.”