Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
USA Today Sports Media Group
USA Today Sports Media Group
Mike D. Sykes, II

Damian Lillard says trade request rumors are “not true” but Blazers fans still shouldn’t be confident he’s staying

Damian Lillard is going to be a Portland Trail Blazer for the foreseeable future. But the problem is the future just isn’t all that foreseeable with him right now.

A bevy of trade rumors popped up on Friday saying Lillard would be requesting a trade from the Trail Blazers in the coming days and that he’d be interested in playing for a number of different teams including the Knicks, 76ers, Warriors and a bunch of other names we’ve heard.

After Team USA’s practice on Friday, Lillard settled things down with his words from a press conference. He flatout said those rumors weren’t true.

But he also said he “hasn’t decided” what his future will be with the organization.

And that’s exactly what makes everything so hard to believe anything about Lillard’s situation. He remains so non-commital. It all seems to be a wait-and-see thing.

He made some pointed comments about the Trail Blazers’ situation. He doesn’t seem to be satisfied with where the team is and doesn’t believe they can compete for a championship.

He specifically noted that in his availability. Lillard didn’t exactly give a ringing endorsement for the Trail Blazers.

Lillard said the Trail Blazers are a good team. But he also said being a good team is not enough for him right now.

Lillard has not quite requested a trade from Portland yet, but it’s clear that’s where things are headed if they don’t quickly make improvements down the line. And that’s the hard part.

The Blazers aren’t going into the summer with a bunch of money to spend. They’re currently on the books for just over $131 million in salary for next season.

They’ve got decisions to make on names like Normal Powell, Derrick Jones Jr., Carmelo Anthony and Enes Kanter. You could just let them walk but there’s not a lot of ways to improve the team even if you do. And after trading so much for a player like Powell, it’s hard to envision them letting him move elsewhere in free agency.

They’re too good to tank but they have no real means of improvement outside of hitting on a great draft pick or making a big trade. But on the trade front, their best piece is probably Lillard himself.

There’s just not much they can do. The Blazers are sort of stuck between a rock and a hard place. And that might ultimately be why trading Lillard is the best option in Portland.

No, it’s not what you want to see. It’s not what Dame, himself, wants. He’s always said he wants to retire a Blazer and will even live in Oregon regardless of what happens.

But it’s just hard to see them winning — or even competing — for a championship with him at this point.


Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.