Portland Trail Blazers All-Star guard Damian Lillard is talented, driven to win, and heading towards the back end of his current contract. With the Blazers seemingly stuck in early-playoff-exit purgatory, the pressure is on for Portland to discover a way to win big before Lillard becomes an unrestricted free agent in 2021.
In the midst of this transitional crucible, Lillard has met once with Blazers owner Paul Allen to talk about a path forward. The mid-January conference, reported by ESPN’s Chris Haynes, caused quite a stir, leading to speculation about not only Lillard’s future, but that of President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey, who was not present at the meeting.
Last week, the Oregonian’s John Canzano referenced an anonymous NBA source saying that Lillard wanted to meet with Allen again following Portland’s exit from the 2018 Playoffs at the hands of the New Orleans Pelicans. Lillard did not directly deny the report, but subtweeted Canzano, calling him a “clown”.
Today Haynes appeared on radio with local hosts Dwight Jaynes and Aaron Fentress to address the possibility of a second meeting between the guard and owner. He denied that the topic had been broached between the two.
Here’s a transcript of the conversation:
Jaynes: There was a report that he [Lillard] went to see Paul Allen again. Any truth to that, you think?
Haynes: Where did that report come from?
Jaynes: I think John Canzano reported that.
Haynes: No, he hasn’t met with Paul Allen.
Fentress: Wasn’t it the report that he requested to meet with him?
Haynes: He hasn’t met with him and he hasn’t requested it.
Jaynes: There isn’t anything to that?
Haynes: No, I haven’t heard anything like that.
Jaynes: Well, you are the Dame Whisperer.