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Damian Lillard Praises Blazers Rookies, Coaches, Organization

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“I love where I live. I love the organization. I love our coaching staff. I love where I am.”

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Portland Trail Blazers v New Orleans Pelicans - Game Three Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard has found himself linked to Los Angeles Lakers trade rumors, but the guard made it clear that he is happy with the Blazers at a brief Summer League availability Sunday (transcription via Blazers beat reporter Casey Holdahl):

I’m straight up. I’m straight up with Coach, I’m straight up with Neil, I’m straight up with y’all. I’m not unhappy. I love where I live, I love the organization, I love our coaching staff, I love who I am. Like I said last year, it’s the urgency of wanting to make those steps in the right direction so we can compete. You’ve got people out here going all out to try and make it happen and I just want us to do the same thing. I feel like we’re trying to do that.

Lillard’s tweets after big man Ed Davis signed with the Brooklyn Nets drew attention, but he now says it’s on the new players to step up:

Obviously I loved Ed (Davis), one of my best friends in the league, favorite teammates I’ve played with. We love him, that’s a loss for our team. Bazz (Shabazz Napier) played big minutes for us, Pat (Connaughton) played big minutes for us, so we lose three rotation players that gave us a lot, that contributed to our season last year. But I guess now we look forward to who can come in and replace those minutes and give us that type of quality.

Lillard also took the time to make Blazers rookies Anfernee Simons and Gary Trent Jr. feel appreciated:

I think Anfernee being younger and smaller, you expected it to be harder for him physically. I think it shows how talented he is. Gary, he’s already there physically, he know how to get to spots, he making shots. I think it’s a matter of him just learning, getting their time in, being around older players and people who they going to actually be actually playing against. But I like what I see in both of them.

You can find audio of Lillard’s availability here, and partial transcription here, both courtesy of Holdahl.