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Damian Lillard Denies Link with Chris Haynes Story

Lillard describes his relationship with President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey in a post-game presser.

NBA: Portland Trail Blazers at Brooklyn Nets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

On Friday morning, Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports published an article about Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, suggesting that Lillard did not have the pieces around him to contend for a championship, a situation that threatened to wear thin.

After Portland’s 128-109 victory over the Brooklyn Nets on Friday night, Dwight Jaynes of NBCSports Northwest asked Lillard about the article in a post-game press conference. Casey Holdahl of the Trail Blazers recorded Lillard’s response and tweeted video of it.

Lillard’s quotes:

Somebody reached out to me and mentioned it to me.

I took it for what it was. That’s his thoughts. I was kind of...what word should I use? Not irritated with him because he’s a writer. That’s what he does. I can’t expect him to not do his job.

But I know because of our relationship, that people would assume that I was tied to the story. I think that was the only thing that bothered me about it.

I lean on the fact that, me and Neil [President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey], if we have a conversation, I know that I can go into his office and walk in that door and tell him whatever I think. And we’ve had those conversations. Same with Terry [Head Coach Terry Stotts].

I think he was doing his job and for me, I just lean on people know who I am. Even with you guys... if you guys ask me a question, I answer it. I tell you what I think. I say how I feel. And most importantly, behind closed doors, the same goes for the people in our business.

Obviously it was no secret. I mentioned it to you guys, I think, in Utah. It’s been frustrating. I also mentioned to you guys that I haven’t been my most healthy this year. It’s probably been my most difficult season physically. I don’t think that’s no secret.

When I saw it, I knew what it was, but I take solace in the things I just mentioned. It is what it is.