It's been a rough start to the season for Portland Trail Blazers star guard Damian Lillard. Not only is he struggling with his individual game, but his team — amid some roster tweaks and a coaching change — is not performing up to par.
Amid all these hassles, the Trail Blazers parted ways with longtime general manager Neil Olshey which sparked further rumors on the organization's status. In the NBA, everything begins and ends with their franchise player. As such, the ultimate rumor mushroomed out: after all the chaos in Portland, Lillard wants out.
What separates Lillard from all other players in the NBA today is that he isn't taking these rumors to pass without airing his side. Lillard has addressed all sorts of reports on his Twitter. Ahead of their duel with the Golden State Warriors on Wednesday, Lillard again cleared the air: he is not asking for a trade.
"I'm not asking for a trade. I don't know how many times I gotta say it. It has gotten to a point in this era that people can write stories and say things, 'I heard this and I heard that' and because of who they are, people take it as 'this is credible, this is probably true.' Me on the other hand I don't feel like I have to defend myself… until I'm asked about it because I know the truth."
Lillard is well-aware of how the media goes about its business involving struggling teams and its franchise player. He knows about the narratives of the likes of LeBron James or Kevin Durant. To recall, James and Durant almost share a similar career path. After shedding blood, sweat, and tears for their team and not walking away with a title, James and Durant moved to a different team, which created a media frenzy. It's one of the narratives which came to define the era. Players have now amassed more power than before.
The six-time All-Star was a witness to how these things developed. He knows how star players now have the leverage over the front office. However, Lillard isn't merely copying what others have done. He is trekking his path. And this path involves sitting down with his coach and continuously concocting solutions that would benefit both parties.
"I sit in the office with Chauncey every day. We trying to find solutions. I'm dealing with these people every day that I walk in our practice facility, trying to find a solution. Why would I be a part of trying to find solutions if I'm planning on an exit? That's not what's going on. But people want that so bad, and it's a good story and a good thing to talk about. They know people want entertainment so they continue with it."
Lillard has indeed made his point. He's sick and tired of people putting words into his mouth. Lillard will stay with the team that drafted him until the end, unlike other star players nowadays.