Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers are in something of a basketball cold war at the moment, with Lillard not pleased with the current construction of the roster and wanting changes to come this offseason to build a real contender around him. To this point, though, there has been no trade request made and it seems if Lillard were to eventually push his way out, it would be after this season if things don’t improve rather than this summer — at least that is the indication reported by the NBA’s most trusted newsbreakers like ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
However, that hasn’t stopped reports from emerging that something more dramatic was going to happen this month, as Henry Abbott of TrueHoop reported Lillard was considering a trade request during Team USA camp. While that didn’t come to fruition, Abbott doubled down on his reporting this week that Lillard was still looking at his options to get out of Portland, including that he would be willing to give up money to get to a title team.
This came as news to Lillard, who tweeted about the report after Team USA’s dominant win over Iran on Wednesday in Tokyo, laughing about the idea that he would give up money to leave Portland with teammate CJ McCollum.
It’s not often that stars not named Kevin Durant address a report this directly on Twitter, but this latest report was apparently so wild to Dame that he had to respond. Lillard wasn’t done there, again tweeting about it on Wednesday evening (Thursday morning in Tokyo).
Now, people have publicly denied reports before that turned out to be true, but this sure seems like a pretty firm “no” out of Lillard that we aren’t going to see him take less money to play somewhere else — the mechanics of how that would even work for someone with four years left on a deal, if nothing else, seem to make it very unlikely. For the most part, the indication is Lillard will continue to be a Blazer for the next year and how this season goes and how successful the organization is in upgrading the roster to his liking will decide the next steps. For now, we can at least cross off “take less money to go somewhere” from the possibilities.