On Wednesday morning, Damian Lillard appeard on Complex.com’s show “Everyday Struggle” to promote the upcoming release of his new rap album. He discussed a variety of topics, but of particular interest to Trail Blazers fans, he addressed loyalty in the NBA.
Host Joe Budden, referencing Kyrie Irving’s recent statement about not having to tell LeBron James that he was going to request a trade, asked Lillard about his comments after LaMarcus Aldridge announced he would sign with the Spurs, and specifically asked “Should LaMarcus Aldridge have said something to you?” Lillard responded:
He did though. … When it came down to him leaving or him staying, it was a lot of stuff being said that wasn’t coming from me. … I was trying to get a hold of him because I started hearing what people were saying he heard: “It’s Dame’s team, and Dame don’t like playing with you.” It was just a lot of stuff that I knew in my heart I never said. I never felt that way so I was trying to get a hold of him to let him know, “Regardless of if you leave or stay, I just want you to know it was never like that. I never had an issue. I was fine with you shooting 24 times a game, ‘cause I’m going to score 20, and we’re going to win more games together than if you leave.”
By the time we spoke he was like, “Man, honestly, it seems like the team want to make you the face of the franchise, and I’m going to move on and do this.” I was like “Alright, I respect it,” but he told me maybe a day or two before it actually came out.
Lillard also clarified what he meant when he said that he would not have handled things the way Aldridge did, saying “I wouldn’t have. I think it was a better situation if we was together.” According to Lillard his relationship with his former teammate is fine.
Budden, who is a New York Knicks fan, also asked Dame about his and CJ McCollum’s recruitment of Carmelo Anthony. Lillard responded, “Right now, we’re trying to figure out any way we can get better, and he’d make us better… a lot better. It’s that simple.”
The show is an hour long and covers many topics in the rap and NBA worlds, including Kevin Durant joining the Golden State Warriors, James’ status as the best player in the NBA, Mason Plumlee’s new contract, and Lillard’s expectation for the upcoming season.