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Blazers Want to Build Winner Around Lillard, Says Woj

Despite taking Scoot Henderson with the No. 3 overall pick, the Portland Trail Blazers remain committed to building around Damian Lillard.

NBA: Sacramento Kings at Portland Trail Blazers Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

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.

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.

Other teams that have reportedly been interested in Lillard are the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers — fringe championship contenders that Lillard can take over the hump.

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.