NBA rumors: Damian Lillard reaffirms commitment to Portland

Do the Blazers have to make a big move before the deadline to keep his commitment in Portland? “That don’t have nothing to do with my commitment to the team,” Lillard said. “I mean, it’s not like we are going to do something that is going to take us to the championship at this point. I think it’s more important for us to protect the assets we have, the guys who are going to be here and who are going to help us going forward. I don’t think it makes sense to sacrifice that just to make a desperate play. “It’s been a tough season, but the season is not over. We can make something of this season as we are, but it’s not worth, you know, saying ‘OK, let’s force something and go do something that at the end of the day doesn’t make sense.’ But that has nothing to do with my commitment. I said it after last game (Golden State): I feel like I can find a way. I can weather the storm. I can go through hard times.”

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"I don’t care what the trend is," Lillard told USA TODAY Sports. "Players are taking control of the power and influence they have. I don’t have an issue with it because there’s been times in the league that players didn’t have that and players were taken advantage of and put in tough situations. So I understand it. But I play for a great organization. I play for a great coach. I love where I live. I have a great situation."
"It will affect a lot of other people," Lillard said of requesting trades, per Yahoo. "Like I'm saying, I do want to win a championship but there's other stuff that means more to me. It's almost like I'm not willing to sell myself out for that instead of impacting this." Lillard also mentioned his relationships in Portland, saying that "I want to win a championship, I compete to win a championship, but I've learned that it's about so many other things. I think a lot of people tell you just because you go out and win a championship ... And then they look back and they're like 'man, this happened because of that, this happened because of that.' When my career is over and I know the relationships that I'm gonna have, I'm going to know the people who knew I was solid with them ... That I did it the right way."
Yahoo Sports NBA: "I'm not willing to sell myself out for (championships)"@Dame_Lillard on why he hasn't left Portland. The @Trailblazers All-Star joined @ChrisBHaynes on the latest episode of Posted Up... You DO NOT want to miss this!

https://twitter.com/jwquick/status/1064286501641613312
James wants to play with Lillard, according to The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor, who recently reported that has been the case "since before LeBron even signed with the Lakers." ESPN's Zach Lowe also noted that James has a healthy respect for Lillard's game. (For context below, Lowe made a "crazy prediction" the Trail Blazers could fall short of expectations this season, leading to the departure of a key member of the franchise.) "The most enticing mega-trade on the board not involving Anthony Davis: Lillard to the Lakers for a package centered around Lonzo Ball. Lillard is a perfect fit next to LeBron, and LeBron respects Lillard's game, per sources familiar with the matter. The Lakers could absorb Lillard into cap space this summer without sending out giant matching salaries — salaries they don't have on the books."
Given what you just said, does it bother you when you hear people say the Blazers should split Dame and CJ up? Jusuf Nurkic: Look, what do you get when you split up Dame and CJ? You get a lottery team, 20 wins probably in a year. That's not the goal. For a small-market team, I think that Portland is not appreciating what Dame really is. You're not going to get anytime some player like Dame here. Everybody knows that. The way he treats the city, the way he treats the people, the way he treats the guys around him. Even a person he just met, any day, he treats every person the same. That's what's amazing for me to see.
With all this being said, yet another star could be staring at change, and this time it could help form an L.A. superteam. Here’s a quote by Kevin O’Connor, from The Ringer podcast: LeBron wants to play with Damian Lillard. He’s one of the guys he’d like to play with and that’s chatter around the league. It has been since before LeBron signed with the Lakers, it was one of the many indicators that he was heading there.
The most enticing mega-trade on the board not involving Anthony Davis: Lillard to the Lakers for a package centered around Lonzo Ball. Lillard is a perfect fit next to LeBron, and LeBron respects Lillard's game, per sources familiar with the matter. The Lakers could absorb Lillard into cap space this summer without sending out giant matching salaries -- salaries they don't have on the books.
Lillard signed a five-year, $140 million extension in 2015 that will keep him under contract through the 2020-21 season. In a rare move for a star of his caliber, he chose to forego a player option in the final year of his deal. It was a sign of his long-term commitment to seeing things through in Portland, a mindset he reiterated Monday at the team's media day. "For me, I have never asked for a trade or been in a position where I was like, 'I'm going to tell them to trade me,' because I'm all about the challenge," Lillard said. "But there's also the other side: My family is happy here, I'm happy with my situation here. So if a situation was ever to come up, or if I felt disrespected, or I wasn't valued, or they felt like it was time for me to move on, then that would be the time. But I don't feel that way."
Lillard, who grew up in Oakland, has bought into Portland as a home in a way no star player has since perhaps Porter, whose children grew up here, and who remains in the city as the head coach of the University of Portland. “My family is happy here,” Lillard said. “I’m happy with my situation here.”
John Gambadoro: Suns have definitely been trying to trade for a front tier point guard - Lillard, Walker, Rozier - but to no avail. Situation at point guard now is not ideal and Phoenix will have to make a trade but Milwaukee pick that they own is not that valuable.
The three-time All-Star point guard, speaking publicly for the first time this summer, squashed rumors of his unhappiness and shot down reports he's angling to leave Rip City for the Los Angeles Lakers or any other franchise. "I'm not unhappy," Lillard said Sunday. "I love where I live. I love the organization. I love our coaching staff. I love where I am."

http://twitter.com/hoopshype/status/1015149874722082816
Twitter User: If the Blazers traded you to the Lakers to help LeBron would you be happy? Damian Lillard: I’m typically a happy camper
Kyle Kuzma: 👀

http://twitter.com/Dame_Lillard/status/1014526745343455232
It’s been reported that Olshey has previously rejected offers for Lillard and McCollum. But that doesn’t mean the phones will stop buzzing. Even before this series, league executives had assumed that Olshey would break up the duo if they failed again. We’ll find out in due time, but the idea should be entertained.
Some folks have pitched deals centered around C.J. McCollum. Portland continues to reject any inquires on McCollum and Damian Lillard, sources say.
Zach Lowe: I've heard the same as you, which is that any, any, any calls to break up the Damian Lillard/CJ McCollum backcourt have been summarily rejected by the Blazers. Do they have anything cooking in terms of getting under the tax? Adrian Wojnarowski: I think Maurice Harkless is a player that has been discussed in some different places, and that's certainly a position the Blazers have wanted to get better at and upgrade. But it's tough, everybody in the league wants—there's such a premium on wings. And Harkless had his best season a couple of years ago before they did the four-year deal, and he hasn't played as well since. Sacramento, in the past, has had some interest in him.

http://twitter.com/SPORTS_PRIMERO/status/955898355644796928
Are you hearing the Blazers may look to trade Lillard or McCollum? Sam Amick: “I’m not hearing that. In fact, the last time I talked to someone who inquired about those guys to Portland was about two weeks ago and Portland said they aren’t moving their guys. But you always have to look at the personality of the executive and Neil Olshey is not only one of those really aggressive GMs, he’s one of those turn-over-every-rock GMs. He’s also a guy who’s very good at laying in the weeds, so a lot of his stuff gets done in the dark and we don’t hear about it until the very end. … But they have to think about this stuff. When you look at the standings and you’re a middle-of-the-road team that has no shot of winning a championship or even getting to the Conference Finals, you have to try to get something done. And Marc [Stein] is obviously one of the best in the business and I'm sure he's getting it from a good place, so it is something worth watching.”
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.
“I’ve seen my name thrown around,” said Lillard after Wednesday’s practice. “It’s a surprise, but then it’s not a surprise just because on the business side, it doesn’t surprise me. Sometimes people like to rock the boat, it could be a rumor. If there was any truth to it, then that would be disheartening, especially for me because I’m really invested in Portland. I want to be here. It’s been tough to attract stars to Portland, historically, for this organization. For me to be 26 years old and invested in Portland and want to be in Portland, I don’t see why (being traded) would make sense.”
“It’s a business and you just never know,” said Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard of rumors around the NBA trade deadline. “You see DeMarcus Cousins playing in the All-Star Game and he’s doing a post-game interview and finds out he’s traded to New Orleans. Him being that level of a player and it happening just like that — and obviously they’ve had their own issues in Sacramento, so it’s a little different — you just never know is the point.”
Teams will, and should, inquire about Damian Lillard as well, although they’ll likely be rebuffed, league sources say. Portland will certainly explore options to cut costs and avoid becoming a tax team next season.
I know some players stay up-to-date on all of the rumors, but I know others ignore it. What’s your approach? Damian Lillard: I hear stuff, but I don’t go searching for it. I know it’s out there and sometimes people mention it to me. I’ve never heard my name mentioned in a trade rumor. But even if it was, it’s out of my control. I know my team knows my value to the organization, so I just play. Whatever people decide to do, it is what it is.
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August 11, 2022 | 1:05 pm EDT Update

Giannis Antetokounmpo says LeBron James is still the best player in the world

Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo is in awe of the fact that Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James is still performing at an incredibly high level. James reportedly spends 1.5 million dollars per year to ensure that his body is in tip-top shape, which is something that Giannis made reference to. “It’s interesting to me how LeBron is still one of the best shapes in his life and being the best player in the world and still being in year 18,” Antetokounmpo said. “Like, that’s really interesting. I want to know how he does that. “He’s been consistent for 18 years. He’s always there. He’s always showing up. That’s unbelievable. “He obviously gets credit, but I think we’ve got to give him more credit. Doing it for 18 years guys, that’s hard.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Watching the first two episodes of Legacy: The True Story of the LA Lakers brought back a lot of wonderful and emotional memories. The effortless camaraderie, the elite athleticism, and the dominating play was exciting to watch. But I was surprised that it also gave me some fresh insights into that time that even I hadn’t thought about before. While enjoying watching one of the best teams in the history of the NBA find their mojo as a team together, I also realized that Dr. Jerry Buss and I were on parallel journeys at the same time.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: In 1979, when Dr. Buss bought the Lakers, I’d been playing for the team for four years. I’d come from the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles had a lot of expectations for me. As a Buck, I set NBA records and helped them win their first NBA championship by sweeping the Baltimore Bullets 4-0. The Lakers expected me to bring them championships, too. Believe me, I felt that weight every single day. I tried hard those first years to live up to what LA expected: My 1,111 defensive rebounds my first season as a Laker remains an NBA single-season record. I received my fourth MVP award that same season, the first in Lakers franchise history. Despite me playing some of the best basketball in my career, the team didn’t win the championships all of LA was hoping for. I felt like I’d let the LA fans down.
August 11, 2022 | 11:23 am EDT Update

Kevin Durant received eight-figure check from Nets the day after he requested trade

On June 30, Kevin Durant formally asked the Brooklyn Nets to trade him. On July 1, league sources say Durant was owed and received an eight-figure check from the Nets — one of two massive advance payments that the disgruntled superstar is scheduled to collect from Brooklyn by Oct. 1 while he’s also in the midst of lobbying the team to move him. If it wasn’t sufficiently audacious that Durant is demanding a trade before playing a single game under the four-year, $194 million contract extension he signed in August 2021, there’s even more to consider.