Damian Lillard # 0 of the Portland Trail Blazers reacts after his three-point basket against the Denver Nuggets in the second quarter.
Bradley Beal could ultimately turn out to be Brad Stevens’ eyeball. However, speculation that the Celtics could take a run at Damian Lillard has certainly not lagged far behind. Hell, Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz went so far as to predict that the six-time All-Star would be dumped to the Cs before Christmas.
While that assumption is a bit presumptuous, it’s easy to argue that Lillards Tenure in Portland is shaky than ever. Yes, the 31-year-old point guard denied previous reports that he was preparing to request a trade, and yes, teammate CJ McCollum told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that he believed Lillard was « all-in ». On the other hand, he was also vocal about his concerns about the Trail Blazers’ ability to build a championship contender around them. Not to mention, fan backlash to his contribution to finding head coaching probably didn’t help the organization.
With his future in Portland uncertain, Lillard took to Instagram to silence rumors he was going to town leave – at least for the near future. On an Instagram live taped by NBA reporter Landon Buford, Lillard was asked if he was leaving PDX (Portland). His answer? « I’m not leaving PDX, at least not now. »
Yes, this leaves the door open for a trade on the street. However, it also pushes the Blazers to deliver their end, that is, to build a competitor. In other words, we are in the same place as we were before these last comments. The reigning third-top scorer in the NBA is simply refreshing people’s minds where he stands.
Lillard is clearly ready to try again with the organization he’s been so loyal to over the past nine years. At the same time, he is clearly nearing the end of his wisdom with the mediocrity of the Blazers – five playoff outcomes in the first round in the last seven seasons.
« I don’t disagree that Chauncey [Billups] might change our team and can make us a better team. But I think if you look at our team as it is, I can’t understand how you say, ‘This is a championship team, we just need a new coach,’ ”Lillard said during training in Las Vegas in July Team USA. via Sean Highkin of Bleacher Report. « We have to be more urgent – we’ve made the playoffs all these years, we’re a good team, we’re not a bad team, but we’ve got to the point where we have to ask ourselves, ‘Have we done enough?' »
During his visit to his alma mater, Weber State, Lillard spoke to Christopher Kamrani of The Athletic, where he delved deeper into how to deal with the abundance of trade speculation that is being thrown in his way / p> “You get into a position where it says, ‘Do I defend myself or do I just say nothing?’ For me, if I only hear things that are inconsistent with the facts, I will say that I did not say that « said Lillard. “I just have to have someone say some things. I know what the truth is. I know where I am It is not my duty to inform the public … it is not my job to bring it to their attention. «
» It was definitely different. I feel like I’ve handled it, like I’ve handled everything. I just let it happen, ”he remarked. “I let people talk and stay true to myself and stand by it. When I say something, I stand on what I said. It is what it is at this point in time. «
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