The Portland Trail Blazers are moving through another offseason without a serious NBA title bid. Star guard Damian Lillard‘s long-term future has become the central focus as he wrapped up another campaign of his prime without a deep playoff run. Lillard has finally addressed the situation, but not in the manner that would enthuse Blazers fans.
Damian Lillard’s uncertain future with the Blazers
The Blazers finished yet another season falling well short of competing for an NBA title.
Portland suffered its fourth first-round playoff departure in the last five years, quickly shifted the chatter to Lillard’s future. The star guard strung together another impressive campaign, ranking third in scoring with 28.8 points and seventh with 7.5 assists per contest.
Despite his playoff brilliance averaging 34.3 points on 46.3% shooting from the floor and 44.9% from 3-point range, the Blazers fell in six games to the Denver Nuggets. The disappointing postseason exit created the growing narrative around Lillard potentially contemplating his future in Portland.
With that in mind, the six-time All-Star finally addressed the situation, but not with the most comforting remarks for Blazers fans.
Damian Lillard’s latest comments about his future should worry Blazers fans
Since the Blazers‘ early playoff exit, the rumors continue to swirl around the star guard without public input.
The 30-year-old finally opened up about the situation, airing his honest feelings toward the chatter while giving his take on the head coaching search process that led to hiring Chauncey Billups. Lillard also voiced that his focus is only on what he can control and not what the franchise handles.
“I do my job. I improve my game and I show up as a point guard of the team,” he said via The Boston Globe. “In the past, I’ve never stepped on anybody’s toes or demanded anything, or told anybody what to do, and it was no different in this situation. That’s all I can really say.
“I’ve known Chauncey before and I’ve never knew of that until this coaching process came into play. Our organization, they said they did a thorough investigation. They went through everything and they went through the process of hiring a coach in a comfortable way. That’s not my decision. It’s not my job to say this guy’s hired or this guy’s not hired. This is what it is now, so here we are.”
It isn’t exactly the greatest display of support or commitment to the Blazers, but it does show he’s focused on moving forward. The six-time All-Star is going with the flow and wants to see how the process plays out with Billups.
Lillard may be solely focused on getting the most of his talent, but it’s clear he will keep an eye on how things unfold ahead.
Lakers will linger as a possible landing spot
Regardless of what Lillard says or does, the rumors will remain around the star guard.
It’s hard to ignore the Blazers’ continued shortcoming after suffering a fourth first-round playoff exit in the last five years. Lillard finished another campaign of his prime without contending for an NBA title. Meanwhile, he’s entering the first year of his four-year, $176.2 million extension that runs through the 2024-25 campaign.
Teams such as the Lakers will stay in the picture, primarily due to Lillard and LeBron James’s strong connection on and off the court. The 30-year-old hasn’t asked for a trade, but things could quickly change if he voices his dissatisfaction or desire to leave Portland.
Ultimately, Lillard holds the most significant influence over how the next chapter of his career unfolds, and time will tell if that will be in a Blazers uniform.
Contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.