The Portland Trail Blazers have a decision to make as All-Star franchise player Damian Lillard’s future with the team hangs in the balance this offseason.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski delved into the Lillard situation by contextualizing both sides of the coin as to whether Lillard will force his way out or remain with the team.
.@wojespn’s latest on Damian Lillard and the Trail Blazers:— Evan Sidery (@esidery) June 23, 2023
- Portland wants to continue building around Lillard.
- Blazers plan to be active in trade market and re-sign Jerami Grant to surround Lillard with win-now pieces.
- If instead Lillard requests a trade, Portland will… pic.twitter.com/pVtaxFHJ31
Should Lillard remain committed, Portland aims to build a contender around the All-NBA star. Though the team had much offensive talent, they missed this years’ playoffs.
In addition to resigning Jerami Grant, who is an unrestricted free agent, Blazers management hopes to add more high caliber talent to the roster.
Khris Middleton, Nikola Vucevic, Draymond Green and Kyle Kuzma are among the most notable free agents outside of the guard position that bring winning elements with them.
Potential replacements for Lillard include James Harden, Fred VanVleet, Kyrie Irving and D’Angelo Russell.
Financially, the Blazers have $111.6 million worth of contracts outside of Grant and Drew Eubanks, with a new salary cap stipulated by the CBA to be $134 million, including a $162 million tax level.
Should the worst occur, the Miami Heat have been closely tied to Lillard as they lost to the Denver Nuggets in this year’s NBA Finals in five games and have a front office known for making franchise altering moves that have resulted in multiple championships this century.
Lillard has spent the entirety of his career with the Blazers and has shown loyalty to the franchise without falter, until now. The franchise seems understanding in letting him make the decision that is best for him, but their commitment to winning with him remains.