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Lillard: Needle Movers Want To Come To Portland

The All-Star point guard has made it clear that it’s time for the Blazers to “push forward” and contend.

Golden State Warriors v Portland Trail Blazers Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images

Damian Lillard has provided a clear signal about his drive to contend in the minutes after the Portland Trail Blazers’ season ended.

During his exit interview, Lillard spoke about the need for General Manager Joe Cronin to get to work and build a team ready to play deep into the NBA Playoffs, saying “now is the time to really push forward.” He added there were “needle movers” who were keen to play for the Blazers, but it’s up to the team to get them.

Dame says there are “needle-movers” who want to come to Portland, but now it comes down to acquiring those players. — Trail Blazers’ Casey Holdahl

The franchise face made urgency a key theme during the interview, emphasizing he didn’t have the patience to wait through a long timeline of player development. Lillard wants players on the roster who are ready to make an immediate impact as he enters his Age 33 season.

Damian Lillard: “I don’t have much of an appetite for building with guys 2 and 3 years away and not really go after it.” — Rose Garden Report’s Sean Highkin

Reiterating a message Cronin harped on at the post-trade deadline presser, Lillard said he and the front office are on the same page when it comes to roster building. Now, it comes down to execution.

Damian Lillard on this offseason: “I feel how I feel about Chauncey, I feel how I feel about Joe. The optimism is there but it’s time to get the work done.” — Highkin

Lillard didn’t only look forward in his exit interview, he also looked back at the season that just finished. He summed up the 2022-23 season as a “frustrating” one full of inconsistency.

Damian Lillard on this season: “Honestly, underwhelming. Just frustrating. A lot of things. Never being fully healthy, never being able to put a consistent stretch together. A season full of ups and downs. Not a lot of consistency.” — Highkin.

Falling to the Golden State Warriors earlier today, 157-101, Portland ended the season as the No. 13 seed in the West with a 33-49 record, fifth-worst in the NBA.