Damian Lillard has been reported to be in trade conversations very soon, but the Portland star shut down those notions in a recent press conference.
Lillard has played his entire career in Portland, and despite always being a playoff contender, the Trailblazers have failed to take that step into the upper echelon of the NBA world where they’re competing for NBA Finals.
Portland has only made the Conference Finals once during Dame’s career and given their current roster, it doesn’t appear like they’re about to be championship contenders anytime soon.
That notion had people believing that Lillard would want out of Portland this year, but it looks like that’s completely false.
Damian Lillard on reports that he will request a trade:
“It’s not true. I haven’t made any firm decision on what my future will be. There’s no need for anybody to speak for me.” pic.twitter.com/6pdVm1ghZU
— Knicks Videos (@sny_knicks) July 16, 2021
Damian Lillard Still Hasn’t Decided On His Future, But He Won’t Be Leaving Portland Now
As you saw in the video, Lillard didn’t say that he intends to play his entire career in Portland explicitly, just that the current trade rumors are false.
So, does this mean that Lillard could eventually leave Portland at some point in his career? Definitely. The Portland superstar is currently under contract till the 2024-25 season.
In 2019, Lillard signed a supermax deal with the Blazers that’ll pay him $140 million over the five years he’s signed. This deal also includes a massive $54 million player option in the 2024-25 season.
Given these circumstances, the only way to acquire Lillard right now is through a trade. Either that, or you wait till free agency comes around and hope that Lillard isn’t swooped up by some other time.
Lillard’s comments have to be reassuring for the Blazers. Without him they’d be a very average team, struggling to make the playoffs. At least this way, you get to keep Dame around for some time and build the team to convince him to stay by the time the 2024-25 season comes around.
However, Lillard could want out earlier. While his conference does make it clear that he’ll be back with Portland next season, there’s no guarantee for the season after. If the Blazers disappoint again, would Lillard finally come through and demand a trade? We’ll just have to wait and see.
Dame Dolla turns 31 today @Dame_Lillard 🎂
Here’s a reminder he’s made a clutch bucket against your favorite NBA team. pic.twitter.com/ynm4mqUfq9
— ESPN (@espn) July 15, 2021