Damian Lillard is still keeping up with NBA rumors surrounding his future while representing Team USA at the Tokyo Olympics. It was recently reported that the Portland Trail Blazers superstar was considering demanding a trade, however, the 31-year-old quickly refuted these claims.
In a new development, Lillard responded to a quote from the initial reporter of the story that he would request a trade, Henry Abbott, with a facepalm emoji on Twitter. The tweet that the point guard was referring to quoted Abbot saying that Lillard was willing to forgo paychecks in order to move to a team challenging for the NBA championship.
What does Damian Lillard's future hold?
While it seems clear that Damian Lillard is in fact not intending to play hardball with the franchise he has been with for his whole career and refuses to feature, there is no smoke without fire. Rumors emerged last month that Lillard was unhappy with the Trail Blazers' hiring of new head coach Chauncy Billups and is unsure if they will be able to build a championship-winning side.
Lillard may have a point. Billups is inexperienced as a head coach and with the kind of roster they have, capable of making a deep run in the playoffs, a more experienced selection may have been wiser.
This has brought Damian Lillard's future with the franchise into question. While he can certainly help to carry this Trail Blazers side into the playoffs and beyond, especially with other cornerstones C.J. McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic, they need to make improvements. Their defense was extremely leaky against the Denver Nuggets in the postseason, while their bench ranked in the bottom half for points per game throughout the campaign.
With Carmelo Anthony potentially leaving in free agency, that is already 13 points they are losing every night from the bench. If the Trail Blazers front office don't make adequate changes that Damian Lillard likes the look of, the landscape of his and the franchise's future could change. Were they to trade the six-time All-Star, they could also lose Nurkic, who stated last month in an interview that if Lillard were to leave, he would too.
Damian Lillard would have no shortage of suitors if it did become clear that he wanted to leave the Portland Trail Blazers. However, we can be sure that we won't see him throwing a strop and missing game time. He is a committed and loyal player to the franchise and, at the end of the day, only wants what's best for their success.