As much as Damian Lillard is trying to avoid conversation concerning his future with the Portland Trail Blazers, it’s an inevitable discussion. Lillard saw another year of his prime pass by without a serious push toward an NBA title. It’s led to him making straight comments, which Hall of Famer Reggie Miller may have precisely unraveled.
Damian Lillard expresses uncertain future with the Blazers
Since Portland suffered its fourth first-round playoff exit in the last five years, Lillard’s future remains a prominent discussion.
The seven-time All-Star finished another season in his prime, falling well short of competing for an NBA title. It’s brought forth numerous reports suggesting he may consider pushing his way out from the Blazers.
Meanwhile, Lillard repeatedly responded to the rumors by indicating the chatter is false but voiced uncertainty regarding a decision with his long-term future.
“I woke up to those reports, a lot of people reaching out to me,” Lillard said via Blazers.com. 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 decisions on what my future will be.
“It’s really no need for anybody else to speak for me or report this or report that. If there’s something to be said, as I said the last time, I’ll speak directly with my team and with Neil. That’s that.”
The 30-year-old hasn’t moved toward demanding a trade, but there lies some uneasiness. Lillard remains committed to the Blazers, but there are a few clear distinctions concerning his comments, which an NBA Hall of Famer quickly decoded.
Reggie Miller decodes Damian Lillard’s real message to the Blazers: ‘You are on Dame time’
Lillard is purposely keeping things publicly hush concerning any internal issues with the Blazers.
However, it hasn’t stopped others from attempting to read in between the lines with what the star guard is genuinely trying to say. During an interview on The Dan Patrick Show on Monday, former Indiana Pacers great Reggie Miller voiced he believes Lillard is trying to inform the Blazers that roster changes are needed.
“Portland Trail Blazers you are on Dame Time,’ Miller said. “You’re on the clock. I want to see some movement and some changes up in here.”
Throughout the years, Lillard’s proven to be extremely loyal, effectively ruling out any chance he will publicly blast the Blazers. Although he may not go that route, it’s clear the front office needs to upgrade the roster around him.
Lillard is one of the league’s best players and has made the franchise a playoff constant, with him leading the charge. It’s the lack of additional push behind him that’s prevented the Blazers from taking the next step forward. The organization may need to consider moving CJ McCollum to acquire more proven talent to provide a different dynamic in Portland.
Whatever the case may be, the franchise needs some significant changes aside from hiring Chauncey Billups as the next head coach.
Portland holds all the cards with its star point guard
The Blazers are attempting to navigate through the offseason without damaging the relationship with Lillard.
The star guard is entering the first year of his four-year, $176.2 million extension that runs through the 2024-25 season. Portland wants to keep him as the franchise centerpiece, but without any significant team changes, it’s hard to envision him wanting to stay through his entire contract.
In other words, the Blazers’ actions moving forward will dictate how things play out regarding Lillard’s commitment.
Contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.