Time for Lillard to get out of Portland

Damian Lillard -Photo courtesy of

Time for Lillard to get out of Portland
December 15
14:07 2021

My favorite player in the NBA has to be Damian Lillard. He has been putting up eye-popping numbers at the point guard position for the Trail Blazers since 2012. At 31 years of age, I don’t see a championship coming Portland’s way any time soon and it may be best for Dame and Portland to part ways now, rather than later.

Lillard is statistically having one of his worst seasons shooting the basketball that he has ever had. Twenty games into the year, Lillard is only shooting 39% from the field and only 30% from three-point range. He is also only averaging 21.5 ppg., the lowest since his third year in the league.

Even though Portland is not a highly sought-after place for free agents to sign, Lillard has stayed committed to the franchise. He has gone as far as to ask for a two-year, $107 million contract extension this upcoming offseason.

“I’m not asking for a trade,” Lillard told reporters last Wednesday. “I don’t know how many times I have to say it.  It’s gotten to a point in the era that people can write stories and say things and ‘I heard this and I heard that’ and because of who they are, people take as, like, this is credible, this is probably true  Me, on the other hand, I don’t feel like I have to defend myself against that and come out and challenge everything that people say until I’m asked about it because I know the truth, you know what I mean?

“I sit in the office with Chauncey every day, and we’re trying to find solutions, and dealing with these people every day when I walk in this practice facility trying to find solutions. Why would I be a part of trying to find solutions if I’m planning on an exit, you know what I’m saying?  That’s not what’s going on.

“But people want that so bad. It’s a good story and it’s a good thing to talk about that and they know people are going to entertain it, so they continue with it, but my intentions are to be in Portland and figure it out. That’s as far as I know all of our intentions, and I also know that people are going to continue to have these same conversations because it’s fun to talk about, but that s#@t is not accurate.”

Lillard has commented time and time again that he does not want to join a super team in order to win a championship. He had the opportunity to leave Portland, but has signed two contract extensions since being drafted by Portland. Many other star players have joined forces over the last decade, but Dame continues to stay loyal to the Blazers.

“I would never do that,” Lillard said on an episode of Million $ Worth of Game podcast back in February. “I mean, I don’t control – if the team decides to trade me somewhere, I can’t control that, but it ain’t for me.”

Lillard seems content with doing things the hard way and knows all-time great players like Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley and Karl Malone are sometimes criticized for never winning a championship during their careers.

“It’s forcing dudes to be like well, I’m going to play with this person or if I get with this person,” said Lillard. “But to me, like, if that’s what they want to do, I don’t got no problem with it. it’s whatever …

“But for me personally, that’s just not something I can do. I’d rather go out there and put my best foot forward and lose before I do that, because I know I can win if I do that.”

Lillard’s attitude toward super teams is admirable. Players like Dirk Nowitzki and Giannis Antetokounmpo have led their respective teams to championships without having a super team, but they are the exception and not the rule, so to speak. Nowadays, you have to at least be paired with another All-Star caliber player to compete for a championship.

Don’t get me wrong, C.J. McCollum is a borderline All-Star caliber player, but he has never made an All-Star team his entire career and he is not enough to pair with Dillard to make a serious run in the western conference.  

There have been plenty of rumors swirling around about Philadelphia 76ers All-Star guard Ben Simmons being on the trade block. Portland has been reported as one of the possible destinations. The Trail Blazers’ front office has made it clear that Lillard is not available and won’t be a part of any trade for Simmons.

If I am Portland, I may have to seriously consider this offer, as it may be mutually beneficial for both sides. As I stated earlier, Lillard is 31 years of age and in the prime of his career, but no one really knows how much longer he will be able to play at this level. On the other hand, Simmons is only 25 and is nowhere near his prime. He has some issues with his game, but I think his shooting woes can be corrected.

Lillard in Philly with Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris would be an interesting trio. Lillard would bring that extra scoring punch the Sixers need to challenge for the top spot in the Eastern conference. They would immediately become serious contenders in the east, along with Milwaukee, Brooklyn, Chicago and Miami.

When it comes to Portland, they would have a player six years younger with a tremendous upside. That would give them a longer window to try and compete in the west. With Simmons and McCollum as a pair, they would have a nice foundation to try to attract a quality free agent.

I know that sports is a business, but I kind of think the Blazers owe it to Lillard to trade him to a quality team, or a team he wishes to play for. I think the team is betting on Lillard wanting to stay with the Blazers his entire career and not chase championships, which I don’t think is a smart move.

It would be a shame if Lillard finishes his career without a championship. At 31, I am not sure how much longer he will be able to play on this level. He has been injured and missed games the last few years and there is only one LeBron James that can be one of the best players on the planet at 37 years of age. So I hope Lillard changes his mind and realizes that leaving Portland might be his best move.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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