Sometimes, a player’s loyalty to his team can also become his weakness. Damian Lillard chose to stay in Portland, and in the process, rejected any chance to compete for the tile this year. He had an opportunity to join the Lakers but said no to LeBron James. Time will only tell if he would regret that decision later on.
LeBron James, Anthony Davis tried to recruit Dame to L.A.
Dame was in L.A. in the offseason to shoot his music video for an upcoming album. He and James met at a WNBA game, and sensing it could be an excellent opportunity to discuss some things with the Portland Trail Blazer star, The King invited Dame to come to his mansion for lunch. When Dame arrived, Anthony Davis was there. At that time, everyone knew at the table that it wasn’t just going to be a simple lunch but a recruitment discussion.
As Lillard shared with Yahoo! Sports, James talked about how things would go if he were to join them in Lakers. But the basketball star cum rapper felt joining a super team was not right.
“I was just saying, I don’t know if this is the route I wanted to go,” Lillard told Yahoo Sports. “And that was pretty much how the conversation went.”
At the end of lunch between three of the biggest stars in the NBA, Lillard’s best chance to win a ring might have also ended at that moment.
Lillard’s loyalty could haunt his career
Damian Lillard served his city and gave his all. At this point, if he were to request a trade, fans would almost feel sorry for him for asking it too late. After losing to the Denver Nuggets team without Jamal Murray, Dame realized the Blazers could not compete for a title seriously.
The management hired a new coach in Chauncey Billups, hoping the former NBA champion could inject some fresh ideas and convince Lillard to stay. Things did not happen according to plan as Dame struggled to get his rhythm early in the season. The 6-time All-Star shoots 34.9 percent from the field and 23.1 percent from the 3-point area to start the season. Fans know he needs to get out of his slump to keep the playoff dreams alive. The fans also know it could be their star’s silent protest to force the Blazers’ management to trade him to let him compete for a title.
If Dame accepted LeBron and Davis’ invite to come and play in L.A., it could have changed the landscape of the NBA. In that case, Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony would not be playing for the Purple and Gold this year.
Opportunities like this don’t happen often, and Lillard must be respected for passing it up to win for his city. With Dame rejecting LeBron’s offer, he might have said goodbye to winning a title in his career.