Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal and Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard are friendly enough to have conversed prior to Beal signing a contract extension with Washington. Fred Katz and Jason Quick of the Athletic outlined the conversation in a report today [subscription required].
The two guards talked about staying loyal to the city that drafted them and trying to win with teammates the franchise can put around them rather than joining a super team. Lillard mentioned that he and Beal share a similar mindset when it comes to wanting to win where they are rather than leaving, saying:
“I know how he feels because I get that all the time: ‘You should go here; you should go there ...’ from all kinds of different people, and I know he gets it too,” Lillard said. “We’ve had that conversation. ... He has the same feeling about it as I have: I just don’t want to go elsewhere. This is our ninth year. We’ve been so invested in this to where it’s like, this is what it is. This is where I want to get it done. And I’m sure he feels that same way.’’
Beal mentioned that he thought of Lillard specifically when weighing his options, wanting his input before ultimately making his decision. The bond that Lillard and Beal shared from these similar state of minds has persisted, and they try to catch up whenever they can.
“Every time we play them, I’ll be walking out to my car postgame and he will be walking out to the bus, and we will stand out there and chop it up for a minute,’’ Lillard said.
Lillard went on to reinforce his stance that if players want to come to Portland to play with him, he is in full support, but that he will not leave to team up with someone elsewhere.
“Right now in the league, you see a lot of guys going to teams where they are playing with one or two other all-star level players because that’s what they feel is best for them. And I’m not mad at it at all,” Lillard said. “If Draymond Green, and I don’t know ... Jrue Holiday decide they want to come to Portland, I would be like, ‘Please. You are more than welcome.’ But I just don’t think going and seeking it out on the level of, ‘Let’s go play for this team together’ ... to me, that ain’t my style.’’
You can read the full feature by Katz and Quick here.