Lillard was initially left off the 30 player pool after being soured on the experience before but was added as player 31 on Wednesday. The path back to Team USA began with an impromptu visit from Men’s National Team Director Sean Ford. During the Blazers recent home stand, Lillard met with Ford, who carried with him a message. “He just said they wanted me to be a part of it still,” Lillard said before Wednesday’s game against Houston. “I chose to remove myself from it and they respected that. I knew down the line I still wanted to be a part of it.”
Storyline: Olympic Games
“Going into it I won’t have that on my mind and on my heart,” Lillard said of the bad feelings. “I’ll go into it with good intensions and I’ll go into it with the right things on my mind. Like I said I’m just happy I’ll have an opportunity going forward.” Lillard admits that going to Rio is probably a long shot, citing the many players who’ve put in more time with the USA Basketball program. “It would be great to be there this year,” Lillard said. “There’s a lot of guys that have spent a lot more time with Team USA than I have so we’ll see.”