It looks like Damian Lillard wants to stay put in Portland.
Lillard has been a topic of trade rumors since the Blazers were eliminated in the 2021 NBA Playoffs.
Portland is still the odds on favorite to land Ben Simmons in a trade but Lillard may be off that discussion.
It looks like it will still be Dame Time in Rip City next season.
Portland Trail Blazers superstar point guard Damian Lillard shut down rumors that he may be angling his way out of Portland this summer.
Lillard had reportedly become disgruntled after the enormous backlash from the Blazers’ process in hiring their new coach and the franchise’s inability to build a champion team around him. But in an interview with reporters after Team USA’s practice on Thursday, Lillard seemed to quash those rumors:
“I’m prepared to go in and do my job every year like I always do. Hopefully we make strides in a positive direction, and we can become a better team with a new coach. That’s where I am with it.”
Here is the full interview with Lillard:
Damian Lillard on trade speculation:
“It’s a lot of things being said, sometimes words being put in my mouth when I haven’t said anything. It’s been a lot of talk. I don’t really have nothing to say to you guys about it.” pic.twitter.com/WAaU6j7bKo
— Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) July 8, 2021
Ben Simmons Trade Rumors
Ben Simmons’ next team (If traded)
Portland Trail Blazers +200
Washington Wizards +300
San Antonio Spurs +400
Utah Jazz +500
Oklahoma City Thunder +550
Golden State Warriors +600
Los Angeles Lakers +650
Cleveland Cavaliers +700
Houston Rockets +1000
— SportsBetting.ag (@SportsBettingAG) June 21, 2021
Lillard’s name was among those that were linked to the Ben Simmons trade rumors late last month after the Philadelphia 76ers were reported to be eyeing to deal their former number 1 pick following their disastrous exit in the second round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs.
Portland was reported to be eyeing to break up their All-Star backcourt of Lillard and C.J. McCollum after failing to advance past the first round of the playoffs this season. The Blazers fired head coach Terry Stotts despite making 8 consecutive playoff trips. Allegedly, a big player trade was next.
With Sixers head coach admitting that he’s unsure if Simmons can be the point guard of a champion team, it was believed that they were shopping for a new PG. Because Lillard was supposed to be disgruntled, the Blazers became the betting favorite at the best NBA betting sites to land Simmons.
Committed to Blazers
Damian Lillard is completely committed to his situation in Portland.#Blazers #Ripcity pic.twitter.com/Tu6pXT7wH0
— Blazers Nation (@BlazersNationCP) April 11, 2019
After signing a four-year $194M extension in 2019, Lillard reaffirmed his commitment to playing in Portland, citing his relationship with the organization and the community. A year later, Lillard’s stand didn’t chance when he was asked about his decision to remain in Portland despite not being in a good position to win an NBA title:
Damian Lillard explains why staying in Portland is important to him. pic.twitter.com/Cwy18RPkMi
— Dime (@DimeUPROXX) August 12, 2020
Since Day 1, Lillard has been known as a loyal solider, one who was willing to stick it out with the organization that drafted him. To him, building a winner has always been more important than joining one and despite his peers moving around the league trying to win an NBA title, he chose to remain in Rip City and build his legacy there.
But Lillard is now 30 years old and Dame Time is slowly ticking out. There’s no guarantee that what Lillard said on Thursday will come out of his mouth again next month, or next season. The ball is on the Blazers’ court now do whatever it takes to give Lillard the team he needs to succeed.