While the Portland Trail Blazers may not have a lot of flexibility during the offseason, they do have one thing going for them: Damian Lillard and his loyalty to the team and its fanbase. Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report ranks Portland 6th in the league for appeal to free agents due to this factor. The culture in Portland is different because of Lillard, and everyone knows it.
Many players profess loyalty, but Lillard lives it, always backing up his talk of trying to win a championship in Portland with action. He is among the league’s premier leaders, a tone-setter who almost single-handedly assures the locker room will fall in line and team-wide effort won’t dip below acceptable levels.
So while the Blazers don’t land on the list of serious title threats, they’re the obvious destination for any free-agent forwards (the guard and center spots are covered) seeking predictability in an unpredictable league.
Rarity determines value, and what the Blazers have is truly rare.
Lillard’s ability to lead the locker room in Portland has defined the franchise, especially after the departure of LaMarcus Aldridge to San Antonio. Lillard has shown an adroit ability to tame even the most problematic of players who join the Trail Blazers. Moreover, he knows what he has developed in Portland is special.
You can read all of Hughes’ rankings here.