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Quick: Lillard Pitched Oubre Jr. on Portland

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The Athletic’s Jason Quick reports Damian Lillard made overtures to free agent wing Kelly Oubre Jr. about coming to Portland.

Phoenix Suns v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images

Damian Lillard approached free agent Kelly Oubre Jr. about joining the Portland Trail Blazers at the end of last season, according to The Athletic’s Jason Quick. The report suggests Lillard believed the former Golden State Warriors wing would help complement the current roster

“It wasn’t anything deep other than would he be open to it, and he said he was,” Lillard told The Athletic.”

Quick reports the Blazers tried to lure Oubre Jr. and former Blazer Nicolas Batum to Portland with the team’s highest free agency tool, the $5.9 taxpayer midlevel exception. (TPMLE)

Portland had limited tools – only the TPMLE – which wasn’t enough to lure Nicolas Batum back for a second tour as a Blazer (he went to the Clippers for the minimum).

They also couldn’t convince Kelly Oubre to take the TPMLE, even though Damian Lillard told me he made a pitch to him at the end of the regular season.

However, Oubre Jr. ended up signing a reported two-year $26 million-plus contract with the Charlotte Hornets while Batum returned to the Los Angeles Clippers on a veteran minimum contract.

Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes also mentioned the Blazers had shown interest in Oubre Jr. during free agency.

Quick’s article goes on to infer that Portland President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey was unlikely to trade CJ McCollum this offseason, despite returning Norman Powell on a five-year, $90 million contract.

It sounds like Portland is not actively shopping McCollum. I don’t know whether that is because Portland doesn’t agree with how teams value McCollum, or whether Neil Olshey is overly infatuated with him, but the general tone I’ve heard is the Blazers won’t move him just to have a different look next season.

You can read the full article here. (subscription required)