Paul Allen Rumors
“What can we do?” Lillard asked owner Paul Allen in January, when the Blazers were struggling at 23–21. “How can we improve?” Reports of the meeting prompted panic across Portland’s communal tables, understandable given the propensity of NBA headliners to flex boardroom muscles. But Lillard was not demanding a trade. “It was a simple conversation,” he insists. “It wasn’t like I asked questions and he gave answers. You don’t always have answers.” The onus fell back on the 27-year-old to produce his own help; more MacGyver, less American Hero. “I’m about to go on one,” Lillard told Young before the All-Star break, and the coach braced for another blitz. But the new version of Dame Time—or Lillard Time, whatever your preference—has not been a five- or 10- or 15-minute phenomenon. It’s spanned nearly two months.
Damian Lillard on the content and purpose of Lillard’s meeting with Paul Allen: It was just me showing urgency, like, spark that urgency…figure out, “OK, what do we have to do?” We’re a five, six seed. What do we have to do to make the jump? If you don’t have a line of communication with people who can make the changes or the people who can make impact for things happening for the better, then you’re just going out there playing.
Lillard on Tuesday confirmed an ESPN report that he met with Allen on Jan. 18 to discuss the future of the franchise. The gist of the meeting? “Very simple,’’ Lillard told NBC Sports Northwest. “What are our plans to get closer to becoming a contender?’’
Lillard on Tuesday said he would not reveal the details of his meeting with Allen, and he was vague in identifying what changed in those 13 days, when his interactions with the owner went from surface level, and then escalated to a private meeting. “Opening up the line of communication,’’ Lillard said. “I don’t think there is anything wrong with communication.’’
The ESPN report says Lillard questioned some of Olshey’s moves in the meeting, including the 2015 trade of Will Barton to Denver. But Lillard on Tuesday said that is not entirely accurate. “The only thing I said about Will Barton is that he could be good on our current roster,’’ Lillard said. “Never once mentioned having an issue with the trade. That was three years ago.’’
Portland Trail Blazers star point guard Damian Lillard met with team owner Paul Allen to gather an understanding of the organization’s direction, league sources told ESPN. The two met discreetly for approximately one hour in Allen’s office at Moda Center prior to hosting the Indiana Pacers last Thursday, sources said. It was the first home game Allen attended in 2018.
According to sources, the meeting was held without knowledge of anyone else in the organization. Allen notified the Trail Blazers’ basketball operations and business branch afterward. In the weeks leading up to the meeting, Allen feared Lillard would request a trade, sources said, but a trade request was not made. The two-time All-Star made it clear, though, that he has championship aspirations and wanted to fulfill those lofty goals during the remaining years of his prime window.