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Trail Blazers Tell Inquirers Damian Lillard is ‘Not Available’ at Trade Deadline

Portland will not be giving up their franchise leader, apparently.

NBA: Golden State Warriors at Portland Trail Blazers Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

The Portland Trail Blazers have made it clear that star point guard Damian Lillard is NOT available for trade, according to TNT’s Chris Haynes. This is consistent with the team’s long-term goal of building a contender around its perennial All-Star.

Teams inquiring about Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard are being told unequivocally that he is not available, league sources tell @NBAonTNT, @BleacherReport.

While this is not at all surprising, it is important. As team’s scramble to shore up their rosters in the wake of the Brooklyn Nets trading away Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, Lillard remains untouchable. The Western Conference is more competitive than ever, and the Trail Blazers have upper echelon aspirations.

At 32 years old and in his 11th season with the team, Lillard is averaging a career-high 30.9 points per game, which ranks fourth among all scorers in the NBA behind only the Dallas Mavericks’ Luka Doncic (33.4), the Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid (33.3), and the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo (32.2).

Despite this achievement, the Trail Blazers are currently on the outside looking in when it comes to contention. Portland sits at No. 10 in the Western Conference standings with a record of 27-28, prompting would-be trade partners to inquire about Lillard, who is ostensibly nearing the back half of his prime years.

For now, Lillard is here to stay. The Trail Blazers moved wing Josh Hart on Wednesday for what ultimately boils down to draft capital and Cam Reddish. As the deadline draws nearer and nearer, Portland is expected to be busy on the phones to improve the roster around its star – not to move him.