Lillard apparently became the next superstar in line to force his way out after the reports about his frustrations with the team's inability to put the championship roster around him, combined with the backlash he received for publicly endorsing Chauncey Billups' head coaching candidacy. But the 6x All-Star reminded everyone that none of those words came from him.
There's a lot of things being said and sometimes words being put in my mouth and I haven't said anything. Should be all of the people who've covered me since I've been in the NBA, they know that if there's something to be said, or if I think something and have something to say I'm gonna say it and I'm gonna stand on it.
The reports about him wanting out contradicted Lillard's emphasis on loyalty and why it matters to him so much. Then the Billups hiring happened, and the Blazers fans criticized their superstar player for supporting the guy accused of sexual assault over two decades ago - Damian himself said he was unaware of the allegations.
With frustrations piling up, everyone thought we were days away from Lillard handing in his trade request. But the 30-year-old is still a member of the Blazers. To be fair, Dame didn't deny contemplating about forcing his way out, nor did he reemphasize his loyalty to Portland. He simply assured fans that, if at some point he decides to request a trade or recommit to the Trail Blazers, they would hear it directly from him.
Nobody's heard what I've said, or nobody's heard me say any of these things, but anything that I have to say, I'm gonna say it directly to Neil, I'm gonna address it directly with my team. I don't really have nothing to say to you guys about it, everything that I need to say and that I feel has been said to Neil, so there's really nothing else that I have to say about it.
Lillard is ready for another go with the Blazers and the team's new head coach. But for the first time in his NBA career, he also seems ready for a change of scenery if things play out the same. That's why the organization has to make some moves to enhance the Blazers' chances for a deeper postseason run. Otherwise, their superstar player might be out the door. And no one could blame him for it.
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