Damian Lillard says trade request rumors 'not true,' expects to be in a Trail Blazers uniform next season

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CBS Sports 16 July, 2021 - 05:21pm 18 views

What team is Damian Lillard on?

Damian Lillard has spent his entire NBA career with the Portland Trail Blazers. Damian Lillard, the high-scoring, All-Star and All-NBA guard, has become synonymous with the Portland Trail Blazers over the past few years. However, playoff disappointments have marked his stint with the team more often than not. NBA.comDamian Lillard: Blazers 'must do better' to win at higher level in playoffs

Does Damian Lillard want out of Portland?

Damian Lillard: “I woke up to those reports, a lot of people have been reaching out to me. It's not true. I'll start off the rip and say it's not true. Fox Sports RadioDamian Lillard Says Reports of Him Wanting Out of Portland Are 'Not True' | FOX Sports Radio

Damian Lillard denied a recent report Friday that he was expected to demand a trade from the Portland Trail Blazers. "It's not true," Lillard said, while adding that he expects to be in a Blazers uniform next season. However, he did couch those comments by saying that he hasn't made a firm decision regarding his future. Lillard, who just turned 31, signed a contract extension with the Blazers in 2019 and is under contract through the 2023-24 season.

"I woke up to those reports," Lillard said after a practice session with Team USA in Las Vegas. "You know a lot of people reaching out to me. But it's not true. I'll start off the rip and say it's not true. I said the last time I spoke to you guys that a lot of things are being said and it hasn't come from me. Number one, it's not true. And secondly I'll also say that I haven't made any firm decision on what my future will be. So there's really no need for anybody else to speak for me or report this or report that." 

The report in question came from Henry Abbott of True Hoop, and it suggested that Lillard would be asking for a move in the coming days. But while Lillard denied the report, he did make it clear that he thinks the Blazers need to improve -- from top to bottom. 

"I think that's the stage we're at as a team where we all, not just me, not just my teammates, not just our new coaching staff, the front office, everybody in this organization must look in the mirror because we've constantly come up short," Lillard said in an interview with  Yahoo's Chris Haynes. "We have to look in the mirror and say I have to be better because whatever it is we're doing is not working and it's not giving us the shot to compete on the level that we want to compete on."   

Lillard was particularly unhappy with the fact that the Blazers were unable to advance past the short-handed Denver Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs this season. 

"Our environment has always been great. We're not losing a lot, but we were eliminated by a shorthanded Denver team that I felt we should have beat," Lillard said. "I just walked away from that really disappointed. I was like, 'Man, this just isn't going to work.' We're not winning the championship, but we've got a successful organization. We're not a franchise that's just out here losing every year and getting divided. We have positive seasons; we just don't end up with a championship."  

It appears as though a major crisis in Portland has been averted -- for now. By denying that he plans to ask for a trade, Lillard showed that his relationship with the organization isn't beyond repair. But, like any star player in his prime, he wants to see the team around him improve. If the team is unable to take strides toward that improvement, perhaps Lillard's stance regarding a trade will change. 

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NBA rumors: Blazers star Damian Lillard plans to request trade

Yahoo Sports 16 July, 2021 - 07:10pm

Dan Wetzel, Pat Forde, Pete Thamel

The 2021 NBA offseason could be a wild one when it comes to trades. Not only is Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons involved in plenty of trade rumors, it's time to throw Portland Trail Blazers superstar guard Damian Lillard into the mix, too.

TrueHoop's Henry Abbott reported that Friday that "a source close to Lillard says that in the days to come, he plans to request a trade."

Lillard was selected by the Blazers with the No. 6 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. He's one of the greatest players in franchise history. Lillard has been named an All-Star six times and also has been selected to six All-NBA teams.

Team success has eluded Lillard in Portland, though. In his nine seasons with the Blazers, the team has made the playoffs eight times but only advanced past the first round on three occasions. Portland has made only one Western Conference Finals appearance during that span, too. The Blazers have been eliminated in Round 1 in each of the last two seasons.

The Blazers have a decent roster, but they aren't a legit contender in the West and probably won't be in the near future. The chances of Lillard winning a championship in Portland appear pretty slim. He's also 31 years old, so if he wants to spend the rest of his prime on a contender, the time to leave Portland probably is now.

Could the Celtics be a potential Lillard destination?

The Celtics do need a point guard after the Kemba Walker trade, but would you give up Jaylen Brown to acquire Lillard? Brown scored a career-high 24.7 points per game last season and was named an All-Star for the first time. He's also seven years younger than Lillard and signed to a much cheaper contract that runs for three more seasons.

From a need/fit standpoint, the Philadelphia 76ers and New York Knicks make sense for Lillard.

Either way, a player of his caliber should have plenty of value. You won't find too many players who can score as efficiently as Lillard.

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