Damian Lillard is denying any communications issues with Portland Trail Blazers owner Jody Allen following a New York Post story suggesting that Allen was not responsive to the All-Star guard. The Post piece stemmed from interviews with former Trail Blazers President Larry Miller and other, unnamed sources suggesting that Allen was passing along ownership decisions to other organizational members, abdicating part of her duties. Failing to respond to Lillard’s email communication, instead channeling Lillard towards Vulcan, Inc. executive Bert Kolde, was a specific allegation in the article.
Today Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports tweeted a direct response from Lillard via the following text, attributed to the point guard, given to Yahoo Sports:
I’m not sure where that story came from. Every time I’ve ever reached out to Jody, she has always taken the time to speak with me. I never sent an email or none of that. I have a great relationship with management and ownership. My agent, Aaron Goodwin, speaks with ownership and management on a regular basis. This is a non story.
Several undercurrents swirl beneath the text of the Post piece. They include:
- Nike owner Phil Knight making an offer to purchase the Blazers last month along with Alan Smolinisky, part owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
- NBA Commissioner Adam Silver commenting, in response to the offer, that the Blazers may be on a mandatory timeline to sell, based on the bequest from former owner Paul Allen, Jody’s brother, who passed away in 2018.
- The Blazers and Jody Allen releasing an official statement this week, affirming that the team is not for sale and that no mandatory timeline looms.
- Miller, the primary source for the Post story, works as a high-level executive for Nike, Inc.
- Lillard is eligible for a contract extension that could top $100 million over two seasons. The extension has been speculated, but not completed.
More on this story (or non-story) if and when it develops.