Portland Trail Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard and TrueHoop founder Henry Abbott engaged in a war of words on Twitter today. The foundation of the beef was a pair of stories in which Abbott discussed Lillard’s status with the Blazers, citing sources who claimed that Lillard was nearing the point of demanding a trade out of Portland.
The first story appeared on July 16th, a piece in which Abbott chronicled Lillard’s topsy-turvy season and suggested a trade demand could be imminent. Lillard refuted that claim in a press conference soon after, but also stated that his future with the team was undecided.
On July 27th, Abbott published a follow-up, again citing sources, this time from a Team USA dinner in which Lillard reportedly talked about his desires for the future and Portland’s inability to meet them so far. The article claimed that Lillard was willing to follow in the footsteps of fellow superstar James Harden, who forced his way out of the Houston Rockets organization last season. Lillard responded on Twitter that the speculation was “getting out of hand”.
With the preliminaries out of the way, the two NBA luminaries went at each other directly on Twitter today. Abbott made the opening volley, responding to Lillard’s objections and resulting claims from fans that he had fabricated the story. He asserted that he had “never published a made-up story” and never would.
Who names their site TrueHoop? My whole career is about the truth. Of course I have never published a made-up story, and never will. If you think somebody is lying about this @Dame_Lillard situation, look elsewhere.— Henry Abbott (@TrueHoop) July 29, 2021
Lillard responded strongly, saying that Abbott’s reporting was “simply not the facts” and asserting that he, Lillard, was “the ultimate source”.
Now ask yourself that same question about me. I’ve been transparent for a decade..I never denied where I stood following the season… don’t loop me in becuz of the state of the game right now. What you are reporting is simply not the facts bro. I’m the ultimate source https://t.co/CF9DM7PeS4— Damian Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) July 29, 2021
Abbott’s response carried a veneer of conciliation, but also a barb beneath. He said he “appreciated” Lillard and his point of view, but that honesty was critical to the news profession. Abbott asked Lillard to be “very careful” about calling him “a liar”.
For sure. Appreciate that, and you. But realize: I work in a profession where my reputation is as important to my livelihood as health is to an NBA player. Please be very careful about calling me a liar. I take my job very seriously, and do not lie.— Henry Abbott (@TrueHoop) July 29, 2021
Lillard served the last rejoinder in the form of a question: “Please be careful?”
The interpretation of Lillard’s tweet remains open, but so far it’s been the last of the conversation.
Lillard is under guaranteed contract in Portland through 2023-24, averaging $42.5 million per year. He also has a player option for 2024-25 at $48.8 million.