The Trail Blazers’ unsavory position in the standings has yet to impact Damian Lillard’s long-term commitment to Portland. Lillard re-confirmed his loyalty to the Blazers in a conversation with The Athletic’s Jason Quick after Thursday’s loss to the Mavericks.
Following a cap-friendly move that netted Portland the services of Trevor Ariza, Quick asked Lillard if he felt that the Blazers needed to do more to keep his commitment to the franchise. The 29-year-old Oakland native delivered a response that confirmed his unwavering loyalty and he highlighted that the Blazers still have a window of opportunity this year.
“That don’t have nothing to do with my commitment to the team,” Lillard said. “I mean, it’s not like we are going to do something that is going to take us to the championship at this point. I think it’s more important for us to protect the assets we have, the guys who are going to be here and who are going to help us going forward. I don’t think it makes sense to sacrifice that just to make a desperate play.
“It’s been a tough season, but the season is not over. We can make something of this season as we are, but it’s not worth, you know, saying ‘OK, let’s force something and go do something that at the end of the day doesn’t make sense.’ But that has nothing to do with my commitment. I said it after last game (Golden State): I feel like I can find a way. I can weather the storm. I can go through hard times.”
Lillard is currently averaging a career-best 28.3 points and 7.6 assists per game. Per the terms of the extension he signed in the summer of 2019, the former Weber State standout is under contract through the 2024-25 season (the final year is a player option).
You can read Quick’s full post at The Athletic (subscription required).