Damian Lillard recently answered questions about his happiness with the Portland Trail Blazers after trade rumors, mainly focused on the Los Angeles Lakers, emerged. Lillard made sure to point out his happiness with the organization but reiterated his goal to compete. On ESPN’s “The Jump,” they pondered what comes next for Lillard and the Blazers, now and down the line.
Dave McMenamin likened Lillard to Kevin Garnett in Minnesota, where winning doesn’t come easy and loyalty gets chipped away:
“The winning has not been at a level commensurate of his talents. And, at what point does he look at other guys around this league who are able to force themselves into better situations and say, ‘you know what, time for me to do the same thing.’”
Amin Elhassan pushed back on the Garnett comparison, saying the future Hall of Famer didn’t leverage his front office into making moves, something Lillard could do:
“I think Damian Lillard has that power (to force the front office into trades) in Portland. He doesn’t need to say ‘trade me because it’s not going to work out here,’ he has the power to make things happen where people are going to have to worry about their jobs if need be.”
Rachel Nichols questioned what happens down the road with the situation, but could see Lillard trying to push the front office into a trade for help in Portland:
“He is loved by the community there and made a big deal about how much he loves being there, so I believe all of that stuff from him. I am curious, though, to see what happens long term with him and this franchise; he gave up flexibility to a degree when he signed that (five-year) contract.”
You can watch the entire clip here: