Damian Lillard has been keenly involved in the Portland Trail Blazers coaching search, sitting in on an interview involving Chauncey Billups, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. On his Hoop Collective podcast, Windhorst highlighted Lillard’s ongoing commitment to the team, interest in the search and speculated on his priorities to ensure the roster was upgraded, including the re-signing of Norman Powell.
On Lillard and Billups...
“Dame Lillard has been invested in the coaching search, I think there are certain candidates that he prefers. They’ve interviewed a number of candidates, I was told that he sat in on the interview for Chauncey Billups. It was virtual ... he joined the Zoom meeting, but it’s not a normal thing I think for players to sit in on that.”
On Lillard’s loyalty to Portland...
“I think Dame is still invested there, but I think before you’re trading CJ McCollum for places, I think Dame would like to make sure that like Norman Powell gets re-signed.”
“I’m already seeing people say, “where is Dame going to get traded?”. I don’t think he wants to get traded anywhere. But it’s not just about the coach they hire, it’s about what they do and spend money on.”
On roster fluctuation and uncertainty...
“Nurkic is up for an extension, his contract is not guaranteed, I’m sure they will guarantee it. Will they re-sign Nurkic, will they pick up Nurkic’s extension and the trade him, will they re-sign Norman Powell, will they re-sign Zach Collins? There’s a lot of ifs there but, you know looking at a Ben Simmons trade, I’m sure, is on the menu.”
The Athletic’s Shams Charania named Billups as one of Lillard’s preferred candidates in the hours after Terry Stotts and the Blazers parted ways earlier this month.
You can listen to the podcast here. The Lillard discussion starts 52 minutes in.