Another day, another moment to wonder where Damian Lillard will end up next season. The drama has heated up even further after the Trail Blazers announced the signing of Chauncey Billups much to the disliking of the TrailBlazer faithful. There are always rumors swirling in the NBA, and the most popular one now seems to be whether or not Lillard stays in Portland or jumps ship and goes somewhere else.
There is no doubt Damian Lillard is one of the best guards in the NBA to this point. Any team Lillard goes to would be immediately gaining superstar-level talent but at a high price. Lillard signed a four-year, $176 million extension in 2019 and the first year of that deal begins in 2021-22.
That deal is what will become either a problem for some teams or a big-time splash in the NBA overall. So where does Lillard land? It is really simple, let’s discuss.
Lillard Stays In Portland
There a few teams that truly make sense for Lillard to go should he leave Portland and even those teams would have to pay a pretty penny to bring him in. The ultimate truth here is that Damian Lillard is going to stay a Portland TrailBlazer. Despite all of the rumors and the talk swirling around the hire of Chauncey Billups, Lillard signed his deal for a reason.
While Portland has had two first-round exits two seasons in a row, they are still a solid team. Maybe the addition of Billups will bring some change to the culture in Portland and wins will start to roll back in like they did in their 2019 run. Damian Lillard has professed his commitment to Portland for the long run and I truly think this will hold strong.
“I think we’ve built something special,” Lillard said after signing the deal. “It’s real genuine. The environment we’ve created is something I’ve been a part of and something I want to continue to be a part of.”Zillgitt, Jeff, 30 June 2021, https://sports.yahoo.com/trail-blazers-could-lose-damian-211345366.html
The fact is that Portland is still a solid team in the western conference as well. Portland has been to the playoffs eight consecutive seasons and while they have only made it as far as the conference finals, they are legit. Damian Lillard is the head of the snake in Portland and he is their leader. Without Lillard in Portland, that team is mediocre at best and would sit around the .500 mark.
To imagine Lillard leaving just does not seem plausible at this point in the game. Lillard is entering his huge deal and just needs time to adjust to the coaching changes. Portland would hold all of the leverage in a trade for Lillard with the new deal not having a player option until after the third year.
I do not see any other outcome here other than Lillard remaining in Portland for the next three years. Once that player option comes around, then the conversation for Lillard going somewhere else will heat up.
I’m keeping this short and sweet because the reality is that Lillard is a TrailBlazer for the next two to three years. For any kind of major trade to happen, teams will have to empty their pockets. I do not see any teams leaping faith just yet to bring in Lillard.
Keep a close on the situation in Portland in case any changes occur, but until then, Chauncy Billups is the new head coach and Damian Lillard is a TrailBlazer. Dame Time will stick around for just a little bit longer NBA world, sorry not sorry.
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