We’re in an unprecedented era of NBA star movement. It seems like every month there’s a new rumor regarding whether or not a superstar will force his way into a more desirable market.
But as soon as the opportunity presented itself, Trail Blazers guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum signed long-term extensions to stay in Portland. USA Today’s Mark Medina spoke with the duo about it means to stay with the Trail Blazers for the long term:
“I don’t care what the trend is,” Lillard told USA TODAY Sports. “Players are taking control of the power and influence they have. I don’t have an issue with it because there’s been times in the league that players didn’t have that and players were taken advantage of and put in tough situations. So I understand it. But I play for a great organization. I play for a great coach. I love where I live. I have a great situation.
McCollum added his thoughts:
“Everybody has the right to make the decision that they feel is best for themselves, That’s the way the league has gone,” McCollum told USA TODAY Sports. “But I’m indifferent. I really just work on myself and work on how I can get better for our team.”
The Portland Trail Blazers are one of five NBA teams to make the playoffs each of the last six seasons, but instead of getting frustrated at not getting over the top, President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey sees the duo as being driven by the pursuit of their goal:
“They’d rather be a really important player on a very successful franchise than to go team up with other players just for the sake of making their lives easier,” Portland general manager Neil Olshey told USA TODAY Sports. “They know the challenges we face as a small market with player acquisition and retention. But they take the responsibility to help build an environment.”
Read the entire piece here.