With the hope of turning their organization into a top-tier squad, the Portland Trail Blazers made a coaching change coupled with a few roster tweaks. The team holds a mediocre 11-13 record a quarter into the season. Damian Lillard, their franchise star, is averaging career-lows and is nowhere near prime form.
A report by The Atheltic's Shams Charania detailed Lillard's displeasure with the organization and head coach Chauncey Billups. The report's headline was the firing of longtime general manager Neil Olshey. The Philadelphia 76ers reportedly proposed a trade package that included Ben Simmons and CJ McCollum at the forefront, which Olshey downright rejected.
The report created a fire trail of rumors and assumptions among NBA fans. Does Lillard want to play with Simmons? Olshey has many other off-court issues, but was his rejection of the 76ers trade proposal the real cause of his sacking?
Lillard inevitably got access to the report. He did not confirm or deny anything. Instead, he pointed out the media's preference for dramatic narratives involving the players, coaches, and their respective organizations.
A confirmation or a denial from Lillard is not the point here. It's crystal clear that there is some dysfunction within the Trail Blazers organization. Their poor win-loss record and Lillard's numbers show it. Their firing of Olshey confirmed it.
All we are waiting for now is how things will develop. While Lillard has not formally requested a trade, we should not be surprised if he asks for one. It's either he's out of Portland, or he tells the organization to make another roster tweak, preferably one which involves Ben Simmons.