Damian Lillard’s current contract with the Portland Trail Blazers is until the end of the 2024-2025 season. And yet, many pundits believe that Lillard may have played his final NBA game with Portland.
Despite the struggles of Portland to build a championship-contending team, Lillard remained loyal to the city and even signed a supermax contract extension back in 2019. He could have chosen to sign elsewhere. Instead, he stayed put.
Portland finished the 2020-2021 regular season with a 42-30 record that put them against the Denver Nuggets in the first round of the 2021 playoffs. Unfortunately, the Blazers lost the series six games against the Nuggets in a best-of-seven series that saw Lillard average 34 points, ten assists, and four rebounds.
He had 55 points in 52 minutes in their Game Five loss that went to two overtimes.
Damian Lillard tried to carry Portland to the promised land. And like in the past nine seasons, he couldn’t just get it done.
To make things worse, Damian Lillard angered Portland fans after expressing support for Chauncey Billups. Portland hired Billups as their new head coach despite the rape allegations against the former Detroit Piston in the ’90s. While Lillard defended his decision by saying that he didn’t read about Billups during his childhood, it didn’t stop angry fans from calling Lillard out on social media. Will this mean the end of Lillard’s time with the team?
A Big Trade Coming
The tricky part is this: Damian Lillard still has four seasons left in his current contract with the Trail Blazers. If he indeed wants out of Portland, a trade is a way to do it.
And with the backlash that the Billups hiring caused, Lillard may be forced out of Portland. That, and the team’s ongoing inability to build a contender around him.
Being a six-time NBA All-Star and a member of the All-NBA First Team in 2018, a trade involving one Damian Lillard is massive. While there’s no word yet from either side as to what they would do in the offseason, any team who would want to acquire Lillard will give up a significant amount of star power for Portland to even listen.
Look at Anthony Davis when he wanted out of New Orleans to play for the Los Angeles Lakers. The New Orleans Pelicans retained Davis until the end of the 2018-2019 season before pulling the trigger on a blockbuster deal that sent Davis to Hollywood. We might see a similar scenario with Lillard.
Ultimately, a trade involving Damian Lillard is coming regardless of whether it’s in this offseason or before the next trade deadline. At this point, it’s now the question of how this big trade would go down for both sides. If Lillard goes to a championship contender, that would tip the balance of the NBA again.
What will happen in the next days, weeks, and months will determine what’s next for Damian Lillard.