Blazers, NBA World Await Word from Damian Lillard in Las Vegas

by 24USATVJuly 16, 2021, 10 p.m. 19
-

Damian Lillard became the center of NBA news this morning after a report from Henry Abbott of TrueHoop cited a source indicating that Lillard was ready to make a trade demand to leave the Portland Trail Blazers. Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports also released an interview with Lillard which, though less pointed, revealed frustration and a desire for change from the six-time NBA All-Star.

Lillard is currently in Las Vegas, Nevada practicing as part of Team USA in preparation for the 2021 Summer Olympics. The Haynes report indicated that Lillard would address the trade demand issue in a press conference following that practice. The media event is expected to commence around 12:30 PM, Pacific Time. We will update this post as Lillard’s remarks become available.

In the meantime, Frank Isola of ESPN has tweeted that President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey and new Head Coach Chauncey Billups are expected to meet with Lillard in Las Vegas today, according to one of Isola’s sources. This comes amid swirling, sometimes conflicting, rumors about Lillard’s intentions, possible destinations, and potential trade packages.

Stay tuned here for updates as Lillard speaks.

The following comments were transcribed from live audio. They may not have exact, word-for-word fidelity but they are very close to what Lillard said in response to questions about the Blazers. We will link you to an audio recording when it becomes available.

On the reports of trade demands...

I woke up to those reports and a lot of people reaching out to me. It’s not true. I’ll start off and say it’s not true. I said the last time I spoke to you guys that a lot of things are being said and it hasn’t come from me. Number one, it’s not true.

Secondly, I’ll also say that I haven’t made any firm decision on what my future will be. There’s no need for anyone else to speak for me or report this or report that. If there’s something to be said, as I said the last time, I’ll speak directly to my team and with Neil, so that’s that.

On what will go into his decision...

A lot of things go into it but I choose not to discuss it openly. The only people I need to discuss that with at this moment is my team...

On looking in the mirror and getting better via Chauncey Billups and Neil Olshey...

The best way to put it is to be more urgent about what our next step is and how we go forward. We have a lot of pride about how me made the playoffs all these years in a row...

We made the playoffs all these years. We have a great city and a great team. There are a lot of positives. But you reach the point where it’s not enough...

We need to put action behind that...

Yeah, we are [planning conversations]. We’ll talk. But right now I’m playing for USA Basketball. We were going to talk anyway...

People are looking at it like some deep, crazy meeting or something...

I haven’t made a firm decision. I’m not looking in the direction of a team... We’re not at that point...

On making roster changes in Portland...

I would say this year it’s more urgent. That’s the way I would put it...

On whether the roster HAS to change or it was just coaching...

There are many teams around the league who don’t make roster changes and they improve...

We’ve had so many teams in the league that a coaching change or a new voice makes things better. I don’t disagree that Chauncey can really change our team, make us a better team, but if you look at our team as it is going into next season, I don’t see how you can say this is a championship team. We just lost in the first round to a team that was hurt...

On whether he’s committed to the Blazers for the season...

Right now I can’t say what I’m going to do... [Affirmation that his first instinct is to say he wants to stay with the Blazers]...

Over time you want to win it all. I want to win it all in a Trail Blazers uniform but we all have to be making strides towards that.

On whether he’s comfortable being the center of off-season drama...

The drama isn’t coming from me. That’s what I take solace in knowing. I’m not shy about speaking up...

I feel at peace... I’m not stepping out of bounds or doing anything uncharacteristic as a person...

My intentions are always right. I always come correct. I’m still in that same space...

On whether he expects to be in a Portland uniform this season...

On whether he’s spoken with owner Jody Allen...

I’ve spoken with Neil and I’ve spoken with Jody...

The conversations that have been needed, I’ve had...

-

Related Articles

HOT TRENDS

Dodgers Swing All-Time Deal for Scherzer, Turner

by 24USATVJuly 30, 2021, 6 a.m.2
HOT TRENDS

Suni Lee and an epochal moment for Hmongs in America

by 24USATVJuly 30, 2021, 6 a.m.2
HOT TRENDS

How to Watch the Gold Cup: Mexico vs. Canada

by 24USATVJuly 30, 2021, 3 a.m.2
HOT TRENDS

NBA Honors Memory of Terrence Clarke During 2021 Draft

by 24USATVJuly 30, 2021, 3 a.m.2
HOT TRENDS

Cubs Trade Anthony Rizzo to Yankees, Twitter Reacts

by 24USATVJuly 30, 2021, 3 a.m.2
HOT TRENDS

Warriors draft F Jonathan Kuminga from the Congo at No. 7

by 24USATVJuly 30, 2021, 2 a.m.2
HOT TRENDS

Yankees acquire All-Star slugger Rizzo from Cubs

by 24USATVJuly 30, 2021, 2 a.m.2