Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard responds to ESPN report on contract renewal, future in Portland
Get ready, Trail Blazers fans. The rumors about Damian Lillard will keep popping up over the next few months.
After Portland fired basketball operations president and general manager Neil Olshey on Friday after completing an investigation into allegations of workplace misconduct, the conversation about the Trail Blazers immediately shifted to Lillard’s future with the franchise. Olshey had consistently pushed back a Lillard trade himself, but the next GM might want to hit the reset button considering Portland lost four of the last five seasons in the first round of the playoffs and struggled to complete the 2021- 22 to start.
NBA League Pass: Sign up to unlock live out-of-market games (7-day free trial)
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported Tuesday that Lillard plans to sign a $ 107 million two-year extension with the Trail Blazers that is set to keep him in Portland until 2026-27, but several GM candidates aren’t interested in that six-time all-star to pay big money by mid-30s.
From Wojnarowski’s report:
The prospect of Portland extending Lillard, 31, beyond his $ 48.8 million in 2024-25, to give him $ 51 million at the age of 35 and $ 55 million at the age of 36 Pay threatens to turn an asset of a contract into an albatross. …
Among several senior GM candidates who fit the profile of Portland’s pool of applicants, there is no enthusiasm to grant Lillard his massive renewal contract through the 2026-27 season. In fact, several executives told ESPN that they would be far more interested in the Blazers’ job, with the blessings of the owners in moving Lillard sooner rather than later.
Wojnarowski added that Lillard’s group is “privately selling” the idea of swapping Trail Blazers veterans in order to rebuild Lillard’s roster. A separate report from The Athletic’s Shams Charania and Sam Amick indicated that Lillard wants to see changes to the roster and “wants to play with 76ers star Ben Simmons”.
MORE: Is Ben Simmons the Answer for Trail Blazers?
Is that how Lillard really thinks about the situation? Apparently not. He responded to Wojnarowski’s report in several social media posts on Tuesday.
Lillard shared a quote on Instagram: “Gossip can reveal the reality of its subject; it always reveals the gossip’s bias.”
He then responded to a tweet that featured a photo of former President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence shaking hands with the caption, “Woj and Olshey, after writing this article, slandered the lady “.
“I can’t say I’m surprised,” Lillard tweeted.
Does Lillard think Olshey is the main source in Wojnarowski’s account? Would he prefer to have a few new teammates around? What if he is not offered an extension?
Lillard has not spoken to media representatives about the state of the organization since Olshey’s release as he is still recovering from an abdominal injury. But it’s safe to say that the next time he steps in front of a microphone he will have many questions to answer.