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Damian Lillard Explains Purpose of Meeting with Paul Allen

In a video interview with Rachel Nichols of ESPN, Lillard talks about his one-on-one conversation with the Trail Blazers owner, his relationship with CJ McCollum, and his place among NBA point guards.

Portland Trail Blazers v Miami Heat Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard sat down with Rachel Nichols of ESPN for a video interview assessing his place in the league and with the Blazers. Topics ranged from his 2018 All-Star appearance, his camaraderie with backcourt mate CJ McCollum, and his one-on-one meeting with Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen before the All-Star break.

The full video of the interview is here. Excerpts follow.

Nichols opened up by asking Lillard about his place among NBA point guards.

Rachel Nichols: Give me your sell of where you are in the point guard constellation in this league.

Damian Lillard: I think I’m as good as any point guard in this league. It’s that simple. There’s nothing that any point guard in this league can do that I can’t.

On the content and purpose of Lillard’s meeting with Paul Allen:

It was just me showing urgency, like, spark that urgency...figure out, “OK, what do we have to do?” We’re a five, six seed. What do we have to do to make the jump? If you don’t have a line of communication with people who can make the changes or the people who can make impact for things happening for the better, then you’re just going out there playing.

On analyst speculation about whether Lillard and McCollum can take the Blazers to the upper tier playing together or whether a trade would be in everybody’s best interests:

I don’t think me and CJ is the issue. I don’t think us playing together is the issue.

Nichols’ interview features more topics and more context, including Lillard’s desire to win in Portland and the importance of getting respect for his work.