Damian Lillard has played his entire NBA career with the Trail Blazers since being selected sixth overall by Portland in the 2012 NBA Draft.
But could his team change in the not-so-distant future? According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, it is possible.
Haynes reports that two factors can push Lillard out to Portland. First, according to Haynes’ sources, Lillard is wondering if Portland can build a contender around him. The Trail Blazers have been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs four times in the past five seasons.
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Second, according to the sources, Lillard is unhappy with the process of hiring a new Portland coach and the backlash that resulted from the move. Lillard is particularly upset with the way he is under attack for the Trail Blazers’ flagged pick of Chauncey Billups, as Haynes pointed out.
Lillard has remained loyal to Portland in large part thanks to the tremendous fan base. But over the past few days, he’s seen some of those same fans attack him on social media for a pending coach hire that he had no role in the consumption, sources said.
Lillard told The Athletic he liked Billups and Jason Kidd as potential training options after Terry Stotts left. But the two candidates came with luggage. Billups was charged with rape in 1997 while Kidd pleaded guilty to domestic violence in 2001.
As a result, fans sued Lillard on Twitter after the team’s decision to hire Billups. Lillard defended himself in a conversation with an upset fan.
Is that so? I was asked which coaches I liked out of the names that I had “heard” and I named them. Sorry I was not aware of their story, I did not read the news when I was 7/8 years old. I can’t stand these things… but if it’s the road you all wanna come to me… say less https://t.co/N1GPkX3Ohd
– Damien Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) June 26, 2021
Obviously, Lillard was not happy with the messages he was receiving. He sent an encrypted message from his account the morning after replying to the above tweet.
“Sometimes it’s not the people who change. It’s the falling mask “
– Damien Lillard (@Dame_Lillard) June 27, 2021
Could Lillard talk about the Portland fans? Maybe, even if only he knows for sure.
Either way, Lillard doesn’t seem happy with those who make the decision to ride with Billups on him.
It may just be fleeting frustration on Lillard’s part, but his status will be worth watching during the NBA offseason. He has always expressed a desire to stay in Portland, but maybe things will change as a result of this controversy.