Damian Lillard wanted to be as clear as possible. He did not ask for a trade with the Trail Blazers.
But at the same time, he did not decide his preferred path for the 2021-22 NBA season.
On Friday afternoon, Lillard talked about his condition after training in American basketball. He denied the trading rumors circulating on social media all day, but also said that he has not yet made a “firm decision” about his future.
“I woke up to see these reports and many people reached out to me. This is not true,” Lillard told reporters. “The last time I spoke to you, many things have been said, but this is not from me. First, this is not true. Second, I have not made any firm decisions about my future. Really. There is no need to let other people speak for me or report this or report that. If there is something to say-as I said last time-I will talk directly to my team and Neil (Orsh). That’s it. “
Although he is hesitant to make a firm decision in the discussion, but Lillard did say that he hopes to return to Portland to start the 2021 season.
However, he also expressed that he hopes the Trail Blazers will improve his support lineup instead of relying on new coach Chauncey Billups to solve all problems.
“I am not opposed to Chauncey may be able to change our team and make us a better team,” Lillard said. “But I think if you look at our team, I don’t understand how you say,’This is a championship team, we just need a new coach.'”
The Trail Blazers have been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs four times in the past five years. The team’s defense has ranked fifth in defensive efficiency over the past two seasons.
Although Lillard averaged 25.7 points, 4.5 rebounds and 6.2 assists during his playoff career, Portland has only been out in the first round three times since Lillard was selected in 2012.
Lillard will meet Billups and Trail Blazers general manager Neal Orsh at the American Basketball Training Camp in Las Vegas. He insisted that regardless of the rumors of the deal, a meeting would be held, but he added that this time there was “a dialogue” between the three parties.
Despite the ominous words, it sounds like Lillard has a favorite result: staying in Portland and playing for the title contenders.
“Now, I’m not sure what I am going to do,” Lillard said. “What I can say is that my entire career has been dedicated to wearing the Trail Blazers jersey. Over time, you want to win everything. I want to win everything in the Trail Blazers jersey, but we are all moving towards Move in this direction.”