If there's one superstar many former NBA players feel is self-sabotaging, it's Damian Lillard. Lillard has been in the league for 11 seasons now and has his Western Conference Finals stint (which he lost to the Golden State Warriors in 2019) as his biggest accomplishment. Lillard is 32 years old, an NBA All-75 player, and has had 6-time All-Star appearances under his belt, but somehow, his team continuously fails to maximize his career.
That's why over the past couple of years, former players have advised Lillard to request a trade out of Portland or pressure the Blazers' front office into building a championship contender around him. The Blazers, who are not even close to being considered championship contenders this season, are hoping Lillard can lead them to the Playoffs once again —but at this point, are the Playoffs enough for Lillard? When is it time for him and him to want and put himself in a position to compete for championships?
Kevin Garnett says the time is now
One former player that is pleading with Lillard to maximize his talents and career is Kevin Garnett. Garnett, who went through the same situation as Lillard did during his time with the Minnesota Timberwolves, feels that it's about time for Dame Dolla to team up with other superstars because, after all, that's the best way he can win a championship, and ascend his game to greater heights.
"I'm telling you bro playing with somebody that's great makes you even greater. And that's why I wanna see him [Lillard] with Jokic, and they running the pick and roll from the top of the key," Garnett said in his latest appearance on "All The Smoke" podcast. "I want to see him with Anthony Davis or KAT or somebody. I want to see him with some other greats. ... Imagine if he with somebody just as good as him or on the same level," Garnett added.
Loyalty vs. championships
Garnett isn't the only former player who recently spoke about Lilllard's situation. Last July, JR Smith straight up asked Lillard why he was wasting his career by rotting in Portland. Both Garnett and Smith feel that the Blazers have no direction, goals, or whatsoever to help Lillard thrive and while staying loyal to an organization is extremely rare and admirable for NBA superstars these days, is it the best move if the team isn't putting its best foot forward?
If Lillard is satisfied with ending his career with no championship to show, his current situation may be good enough for him.
Ultimately, Dame is currently tied with the Blazers on a $225 million contract that will last until the 2026-2027 season. That's theoretically five more seasons in Portland, so it'll be up to Dame Dolla to decide whether he wants to stay and recruit a superstar or two to play with him in Portland or finally request a trade and move on to greener pastures.