Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard is surrounded by trade rumors that suggest he’d like to go to the Los Angeles Lakers or New York Knicks. At the Blazers’ introductory press conference for newly signed guards Seth Curry and Nik Stauskas, President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey downplayed the rumors. We’ve gathered highlights from the press conference:
On Lillard-to-Lakers trade rumors:
As much as I love LeBron, the NBA isn’t his personal game at Rucker [Park]. So he doesn’t get to pick his teammates. That’s not how it works. Damian’s out there working, Damian is here, Damian has three years left on his contract; this isn’t the world of ‘let’s just send a couple of texts out on a string and see who wants to run with us,’ this is the NBA.
Later calling them “much ado about nothing”:
Clearly there are myths that some of our broadcast partners like to perpetuate because it is click bait and it brings viewers. And at the end of the day, it’s all much ado about nothing.
On helping Ed Davis take his deal with the Brooklyn Nets:
I counseled him to take that job. And I think if you asked Ed today, the counsel was pretty good.
On moves completed this offseason:
We had limited tools in terms of all we had was the Tax Payer Mid-Level [Exception] and minimums [exceptions]. So at this point, what we wanted to do was make sure we secured players we know would fit into our system, that can translate immediately in terms of skill-set and produce on the court.
On moves that could be coming:
We’ll get to Summer League, we’ll be with all of our colleagues, we’ll start generating and being presented with different deals to kind of upgrade the roster, and we’ll pursue those as diligently as we always do.
On the league being quiet so far in terms of moves:
I think everybody wants answers in the first 24 hours, and that’s just not viable. You have an 82-game season, you don’t write the narrative after Game 1. We have four months of offseason, you don’t write it on July 1st.
On the team’s focus this offseason:
We also ran into a buzzsaw in the playoffs, and a lot of that had to with floor-spacing, it had to do with floor balance, it had to do with a lack of shooting from different positions on the floor. So we made a decision that we were going to make a move, clear up some roster spots.
On his road to recovery from injury:
I’m past the rehab stage, and right now it’s just all strength work and court work, so it’s the fun stuff of working on my game and getting in shape.
On what be brings to Portland:
I feel like with my skill-set I can make it easier on a lot of guys that they already have on the team.
On the chance he has:
I’m just looking forward to another opportunity to come in and kinda make my mark again.
On signing with Portland:
Seeing the success that Shabazz [Napier] and Pat [Connaughton] had last year coming off the bench, for me that kind of made me feel a little bit more confident in making my decision.
You can watch the whole press conference here: