NBA Rumor: Damian Lillard Trade?

281 rumors in this storyline

Damian Lillard on if Blazers wanted to trade him: 'I'm not going to fight them on wanting to trade me'

“Everybody is like, ‘He’s going to do this. He’s going to do that,’” Lillard said. “But the game is so watered down, and the game is so fugazi (fake) that people literally won’t believe what you say even if you say it directly to them.” Though Damian Lillard wants to stay with the Blazers, asked if he would accept a trade, he responded: “If they came to me and they wanted to trade me – I’m not going to fight them on wanting to trade me. I don’t want to be anywhere I’m not wanted. But I don’t think that’s the case.”

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Damian Lillard: The only thing I care about is winning a championship in Portland

CH: A championship in Portland is still your desire? Damian Lillard: “That’s the only thing I care about, honestly. It seems like after I announced that I was having surgery, people were like, ‘Oh, he’s 31 and having this done.’ Man, 31 is not old. They act like you’re old when we have guys around the league older than me that are still playing at a high level. Also, my game is not based on me playing above the rim. I’m a sniper. I shoot. I got a good step. I can think the game. I can manipulate the game, and I know how to play. My game will age well, and I don’t have a history of injuries. And the one that I just had is not a bad injury to have. I’m going to come back and be fine. Like I said, my best is yet to come. And the only things that I play for at this point is I want to be the MVP of the league and I want to win the championship. And once I do those things, I feel great about the investment that I made to this game over my whole life. If I accomplish those two things, I’m walking away feeling like I literally got the most out of myself as an athlete.”

Damian Lillard: 'I'm loyal to what I believe'

But an accurate assessment, post-deadline, of Lillard’s commitment to the only team he’s played for over his 10 seasons in the league? For those still wondering, or holding out hope that he wants out of Portland? Especially after the organization completely revamped the roster? That we can provide with 100 percent certainty. Because we asked him for an update. “I’m loyal to what I believe,” Lillard tells Complex Sports. “I do love living in Portland. I do love playing for the Trail Blazers. But I’ve built this. I’ve been part of this for 10 years. I’ve been part of the change here and us being a successful franchise. I know what means something to me in my heart. And that’s winning a championship here.”

One NBA source said the Knicks’ best chance of attracting Lillard’s interest would’ve been signing swingman DeMar DeRozan in the offseason instead of Fournier. Lillard and DeRozan are friends, and Knicks general manager Scott Perry wanted to look closer at that scenario but the team’s top decision-maker, William Wesley, thought DeRozan was closer to being washed up than being an All-Star. DeRozan had four straight games of 35 points or more entering Saturday and will be heading back to the All-Star Game next weekend.  With the Knicks in 12th place and five games under .500, they don’t hold the same appeal for Lillard, according to a source, as they did last season, when they were the success story of the NBA. 

The Knicks pursued McCollum and didn’t get him, but the question remains: Do they even have the assets to land Lillard?  They have all their first-round picks, a slew of extra second-rounders and Reddish, but a lot of their assets, other than RJ Barrett, have been devalued.  “If they’re going to be in the hunt for Lillard, they’d have to have a good lottery pick this year,’’ one NBA executive said. “Because they’d have to give up RJ Barrett. I don’t see how they get him otherwise.’’ 

This is the current understanding of Lillard’s thinking about Portland. He won’t demand a trade because he won’t run from the grind. The logic felt strained over the summer, to the ticking clock of his prime years, and his urge to win a championship. Now–barring another big deal before the trade deadline—with the Blazers talking about lottery picks and youth, a search of the word “Dame” on Twitter mostly turns up stuff like this: It’s almost as if Blazers management were begging Lillard to force his way out. A theory going around the NBA: that’s exactly what they’re doing.

No plans to trade Damian Lillard

There are no plans to trade Damian Lillard, a source familiar with the situation told SI, and teams have stopped asking. But Portland knows it needs to show Lillard something. Buzz among NBA execs is that the Blazers will turn their attention to Pistons swingman Jerami Grant. Grant’s salary ($20 million) fits into the trade exception, he’s under contract for next season and a Lillard/Grant/Anfernee Simons trio on the perimeter is a decent foundation to build on.

Damian Lillard: 'My heart is Portland Trail Blazer'

Damian Lillard: For me, my heart is Portland Trail Blazer. I want to win it. I know that I have a plan that’s going to put me on my best level when I come back to play. And I want our team to fit that. I’m a huge fan of Chauncey Billups. I love Chauncey, we’ve got a great relationship and I think he’ll continue to grow into the head coach that he wants to be. And I’m a Joe Cronin fan. In his position I think it takes being bold and doing bold things, doing what you see fit and standing on it. He’s told me that our plan is to build a winning team, not to rebuild. Because we had a prior relationship to him becoming GM, I trust his word.

Teams don't believe Daryl Morey is bluffing about keeping Ben Simmons

Damian Lillard not worried about contract extension?

Dame is also extension eligible this offseason. So how does this injury impact his future plans here? Brian Windhorst: This is something that obviously we’re talking about $100 million decision in the offseason to add two years to his contract. That is obviously going to be something discussed very deeply in the coming weeks. However, in talking to folks around Dame, this is not something that Dame is worried about. Dame is trying to get healthy. Dan wants to remain in Portland, and the contract extension will come as a normal course of business as most players who have two years left on their contract.

The Sixers have long targeted Lillard, who reaffirmed his desire to stay in Portland around the start of the team’s training camp. After the recent firing of president of basketball operations Neil Olshey, Cronin has publicly and privately said the franchise plans to keep building around Lillard. The Blazers have been open to discussing a deal for Simmons centered on guard CJ McCollum, but that conversation never gathered traction, sources said.

San Antonio’s efforts to crash the trade hunt for Simmons have been well-chronicled, but Philadelphia remains intent on holding out for Portland’s Damian Lillard or another proven All-Star in a Simmons swap. While the Spurs clearly don’t have one, it’s nonetheless tantalizing to picture Simmons landing in the Alamo City so Popovich and Chip Engelland, San Antonio’s renowned shooting coach, can lead the cause to rehabilitate the wayward Simmons’ game.

Yet there still remain internal concerns about Lillard’s future in Portland. The last month of investigations and the team’s poor record—now 11-14 following Monday’s night’s loss to the Clippers—combined with mixed feelings about Billups’ leadership strategy, all while Lillard has struggled with a serious abdominal injury, has left an unsettled feeling among Blazers personnel despite Lillard’s unwavering public commitment to the organization. A lot of work lies ahead.

Damian Lillard: 'I don't believe in the ring of bust thing'

Damian Lillard: I’ve done so much in my career that I know that I have a great body of work. I will feel that way with or without a championship ring, but the reason I play is for a championship ring. So, I don’t believe in the ring or bust thing, I’m not a fan of that, and that’s why I don’t play my career to that narrative. I’m not making every decision, like ‘Oh I should do this or I should do that to get a ring’, because knowing myself and knowing I feel in my heart and the way that I operate, I don’t think it would be as fulfilling or as great of a feeling as I imagine it’d being if I felt like I got beside myself or stepped outside of myself to try to accomplish that.

Damian Lillard: I’ve had players around the league tell me, like, ‘Man, you should go here or you should leave,’ because they want it for me. Sometimes you have people around the league that you’re cool with it that have experienced it or have not and see you as somebody that can do something different and have an opportunity to win it so they want that for you. So, they make suggestions and things like that but I think that at the end of the day they respect my stance. It’s not in disrespect to anybody else who made a different decision, it’s just in respect for me standing in what I believe and being able to deal with whatever the consequences are.

ESPN’s Bobby Marks thinks the Blazers should explore trading Lillard (video link). He believes Lillard may have peaked as a player, pointing to his age (31), huge contract, and the high number of minutes he’s played over the years. Marks thinks it could be worth it to try and extract maximum value for Lillard before it’s too late. However, he acknowledges that the situation will be very tricky for whoever takes over the front office, as Lillard is one of the best players in franchise history.

Damian Lillard, Blazers just trying to create leverage?

Kevin O’Connor: (Damian Lillard) goes from making these vague comments about, “Yeah, I don’t know how long I’ll be here” like weeks before the season to suddenly “I’m all in.” There are front office executives around the league who think this is a strategic choice by the Blazers, Dame’s group and all that in order to create leverage for the organization because right now around the league teams just want Dame. They don’t they don’t want CJ McCollum, they don’t want Jusuf Nurkic. They’re like, “We’re gonna wait for Dame to demand a trade.”

Neil Olshey unwilling to trade Damian Lillard to Lakers

While Lillard waited for his Uber, James showed him the rest of the house and around the backyard. The Uber showed up after 20 or so minutes and whisked Lillard away. This much was clear: There was no way Trail Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey would ever trade Lillard to the Lakers. Though joining the Lakers wasn’t at the top of his list, that Lillard took the meeting with James showed how much he respected the four-time NBA champion and how much he was receptive to the idea of trying something new.

“The whole time I knew I was a Trail Blazer, but obviously coming off that playoff loss, I was like, ‘We got to do something to show we’re actually trying to win it,’ ” Lillard told Yahoo Sports of his conversation with management. “There are so many teams in the league where some want to tank; some teams just want to be a playoff team and see if they can make things interesting; and then there are a few teams with the mindset of winning a championship.

“But when I watched Giannis, he was really looking around like, ‘Damn, what if I really left Milwaukee? This was worth it.’ So for me, I put myself in his shoes. Sometimes it seems like this is impossible and it’s never going to happen, and I’m sure he was there before, too. “If I was to get that championship for Portland, I would cry, bruh. Bruh, on the spot. I would really cry, bro. I want to win a championship here. And because of how strongly I feel about that, I don’t know how rewarding it would feel for me at this point if I won somewhere else. Winning it here would be a lifetime achievement for me.”

Damian Lillard had offseason meeting with LeBron James, Anthony Davis

The day before Lillard was to shoot his music video, he made a surprise appearance at a WNBA game, featuring the Los Angeles Sparks and Las Vegas Aces. Upon arriving, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James was already sitting courtside. On the way to his seat, James stood up to acknowledge his “Space Jam: A New Legacy” cast member. The two shook hands and exchanged a laugh. Later that evening, James sent Lillard an invitation to his mansion in Brentwood. “He was like, ‘Pull up. Let’s have lunch to talk shop,’ ” Lillard told Yahoo Sports. “So I pulled up.”

Lillard’s future in Portland was in the balance at this point. He bled Rip City, but he was weighing all of his options. Through the years, James hasn’t been shy — publicly and privately — in relaying how thrilling it would be to share the same jersey as the Oakland native. The 6-foot-3 guard caught an Uber from his hotel to James’ house. After security opened the gate for the vehicle to enter the property, Lillard was met at the door by a house staffer who escorted him through the living room and into the elevator. The destination was the rooftop.

Damian Lillard: 'I'm 10 toes in Rip City'

“Honestly, it doesn’t shift my focus either way,” Lillard said. “During starting lineups, they were booing everybody and then they cheered when I came through. I thought that was funny. That comes with professional sports. It’s fun, it’s a public thing, so I’m not uptight about it or acting like I don’t recognize it. “I know what it is and I know what it’s about. But I’m a Trail Blazer. I appreciate the love. I appreciate the respect that they showed and the desire or whatever but I’m 10 toes in Rip City, and I’ve said that time and time again and tonight I laughed about it during starting lineups but that was that.”

Damian Lillard raps about not joining a super team being his 'Achilles' heel'

He hinted as much in a recent appearance on “Bars On I-95, in which he rapped his way to share his thoughts on joining a super team. He gave a special shoutout to Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo and Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki, who both defeated superteams and won the title despite not having the same star-studded squad. Here’s how his freestyle went, via Reddit: “Dame Lillard, DeMar DeRozan, Bradley Beal, trill… Me not wanting to join a super team might end up being my Achilles’ heel… Hector, I’m on my shield… Trying to get next to Freak and Dirk on that lonely hill… Now my goal’s revealed so fuck you, the reporters thinking my homies squealed…”

Damian Lillard 'all in' with Blazers

Lillard also became empowered under first-year coach Chauncey Billups, a former NBA player and LA Clippers assistant coach that replaced Terry Stotts after his nine seasons at the helm. “It was never out of hate or that we don’t like each other,” Lillard told NBA.com. “It was just, ‘This is how much I want to win it.’ So, once it was time to come back and I had a conversation with Chauncey and had a conversation with Neil, I’m not going to come back halfhearted. I’m going to come back and be all in.”

Lillard told The Athletic that a series of conversations with Billups over the summer helped center his thoughts back to Portland and what could happen if he stayed. Those conversations — Billups said it was five or six, some of them in person, some on the phone — dealt with basketball philosophy, strategies and concepts. But they also involved topics that penetrated to Lillard’s core. They talked about family, life after basketball, and the qualities found in a winner.

Lillard left the conversations inspired, encouraged and enamored. What he saw in his new coach was what he saw in himself. “I think a big part of (my change in mindset) was me and Chauncey’s conversations, and where we see things the same,” Lillard told The Athletic. “I’m not going to share details of our conversations, but it’s not often when I speak to people that they see what I see. Watching a game, observing people … there’s not many people who see what I see. But a lot of what I see, he sees. So that was very important to me. Like, that was a big deal.”

As much as Lillard has recently tried to backtrack from his tumultuous summer by saying other people were putting words into his mouth, he acknowledged Friday that was indeed contemplating leaving Portland, even if he never publicly said it. “Yeah, I was upset,” Lillard said. “We lost to a team (Denver) I thought we should beat. I wanted us to show we really want to win. But I never said, ‘Oh, I’m leaving.’ I said, ‘If that’s what it comes to — if this is not what our real focus is — then maybe I will be forced to say all right, it’s not going to work.’ “But I never said I was leaving. And I never said this is not where I want to be. I never said that.”

Chauncey Billups never tried to convince Damian Lillard to stay in Portland

Before their conversations, Billups said he was aware of Lillard’s unhappiness with the end of the Blazers’ season, and that his superstar might have been entertaining thoughts of asking out of Portland. But he said he never approached their talks as if he was trying to convince Lillard to stay. “I’ve never told Dame, or asked him, to stay. Nothing. I’ve never done that,” Billups said. “I felt like the biggest thing I wanted to do was share the things that were important to me. This is what I am. This is what I’m about. “Then, it’s on him to decide: Is it worth it? Or should I punt?”

Shams Charania: Blazers at risk of losing Damian Lillard

The organization probably feels like it’s gone well so you have two different sides to this and I think rival teams still believe he will be moved, it’s just a matter of time and one player that Philadelphia has monitored throughout the last few months and I think it will continue and the ball will continue to be rolled is Damian Lillard with Portland. I think there’s going to be a light going into this upcoming NBA season on the future of Damian Lillard and if Portland gets off to a rough start, like, I’ll tell you guys this if they’re not improved under Chauncey Billups this year, they risk losing Damian Lillard long term.

Sixers still waiting on Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal

Philadelphia’s loftier sights remain set on Lillard and Bradley Beal possibly growing dissatisfied in Portland and Washington, respectively, sources said. A far larger pool of players also become trade-eligible on December 15, then incorporating most of the newly-signed players from this past offseason. It seems the chances of any Simmons trade, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation, will grow significantly larger in late December than anytime soon, barring any change in a rival team’s circumstances.

Cavs, Pacers, Wolves, Spurs, Raptors most determined suitors for Ben Simmons

League sources say that Cleveland, Indiana, Minnesota, San Antonio and Toronto (in alphabetical order) have been the most determined suitors for Simmons since last season ended. Morey doesn’t appear to possess anywhere near the leverage in trade talks to demand the level of star he hopes will ultimately headline what the Sixers get in return for Simmons — namely Portland’s Damian Lillard — but from the start he’s been in a far stronger position than Simmons.

76ers unmoved by Pacers potential trade scenarios for Ben Simmons

Indiana has been a legitimate suitor for Simmons, league sources say, and really should have been cited more frequently by yours truly along with the other teams (Minnesota, Toronto, San Antonio and Cleveland) that have consistently registered interest in the unhappy Sixer. Indications persist, though, that Philadelphia has been unmoved by the Pacers’ ability to offer Malcolm Brogdon and Caris LeVert as the headliners of a trade package. No matter how unrealistic it sounds, Portland’s Damian Lillard remains the type of starry target Morey seeks.

Sam Amick: As our esteemed Blazers beat writer, Jason Quick, wrote recently, Lillard is focused on “going out on his shield” and trying yet again to take the Blazers to that elusive next level. His stance could certainly change if the Blazers get off to a bad start, but sources say Lillard wants to see how this early season goes while giving first-year coach Chauncey Billups a genuine shot at success along the way. All of which is a roundabout way of saying that I don’t think Kyrie is going anywhere anytime soon. Especially because of the personal dynamics that are in play in Brooklyn.

Chauncey Billups on Damian Lillard: 'I’m not going to be the guy preaching 'stay here''

However, if Lillard contemplates a change of scenery, head coach Chauncey Billups would be the last person begging for him to stay. “I came here to coach you, but it’s your career, it’s your life and it’s your family.” Billups said on Sirius XM NBA Radio. “I’ve been there before, and I’m not going to be the guy preaching ‘Stay here, go there, do this.’” “I got a job to do, I want to do it with you, obviously. But if at some point you deem ‘Hey, another place is another place for me,’ that’s not going to be an indictment on myself. That’s going to be you making a decision for you and your family.”

SiriusXM NBA Radio: Trail Blazers Head Coach Chauncey Billups reveals his message to Damian Lillard. Hear the Portland Trail Blazers Season Preview Show featuring Chauncey Billups and more tonight at 9pET on NBA Radio! @trailblazers | @1MrBigShot | @NBA | #NBA75

Lakers explored trading for Damian Lillard

In the two months that followed their first-round playoff flop against Phoenix, when Davis’ groin injury left them pulling up lame, the Lakers explored the prospect of trading for such stars as Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, DeMar DeRozan and Russell Westbrook. The process unfolded well beyond the team’s front office’s search, with James setting up a war room of his own at his Brentwood estate for some in-person player meetings while leading remote communications in other conversations.

Damian Lillard held back from trade demand by loyalty to Portland, past statements?

There are many who believed then and continue to insist now that Damian Lillard was about ready to ask out; a source with knowledge of the situation believes Lillard is held back by both his loyalty to Portland and an unwillingness to go back on things he’s already said about sticking things out. He ultimately decided to give this another go, and Lillard has been provided roster upgrades and had a big voice in the coaching search. He may still ask out down the road, but only time will tell how long this honeymoon lasts.

Kings unlikely to part with De'Aaron Fox or Tyrese Haliburton for Ben Simmons

The 76ers were widely believed to be holding out for a chance to acquire Damian Lillard from the Portland Trail Blazers, but Lillard recently said he isn’t leaving Portland, “not right now at least.” As for Sacramento, sources have suggested the 76ers would only be willing to consider an offer that includes De’Aaron Fox or Tyrese Haliburton. The Kings are unlikely to part with either player, but they can offer Buddy Hield, a prolific 3-point shooter who would space the floor for Joel Embiid; Marvin Bagley III, a former No. 2 pick who has yet to reach his potential; and other assets, including multiple first-round draft picks.

Philadelphia has its eyes set on Portland All-NBA guard Damian Lillard, sources say, but the Trail Blazers have fully focused on continuing to build around Lillard. As of now, Lillard is continuing to evaluate the Trail Blazers’ present and future and is slated to begin training camp with the organization. In some ways, the 76ers are stuck between deciding whether to make a move now with Simmons — or waiting until a star like Lillard shakes free.

Scotto: When you talk to any rival executive, agents around the league, etc. the bottom line of the Blazers is Damian Lillard’s prime is on the clock. It’s like Marisa Tomei in My Cousin Vinny… Neil Olshey is going all-in on Chauncey Billups. This is his guy. They have a relationship dating back to their LA Clippers days together. He’s fond of Chauncey as a leader and thinks he’s the right guy for the job. Ultimately, he’s either going to sink or swim with that hire… CJ McCollum needs to become an All-Star for the first time in his career. He’s been knocking on the door. If they’re going to be successful, he’s got to average 23-25 points per game… Jusuf Nurkic needs to come back and dominate. There was a time where Nurkic was thought to be the third guy. He’s going to need to be that for them now.
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