Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard has responded to rumors that he planted a story linking him to a move to another NBA team. Yahoo Sports author and long-time friend of Damian Lillard, Chris Haynes, recently wrote an article suggesting that Lillard might be running out of patience with the Portland Trail Blazers.
Lillard was asked about the article at the post-match conference after the Portland Trail Blazers’ recent victory over NBA title contenders, the Brooklyn Nets. Lillard suggested that the obvious assumption that he planted the story due to his relationship with the writer bothered him.
Damian Lillard “bothered” by assumptions of him planting the story
After dropping 32 points, 9 assists and 7 rebounds in a win against the Brooklyn Nets, Lillard was asked for comments about the article. He responded by saying:
“I took it for what it was. That’s [Haynes’] thoughts. I was kind of, what word should I use, not irritated with him because he’s a writer and that’s what he does. But I know because of our relationship people would assume I was tied to the story. That was the only thing that bothered me about it.’’
While Chris Haynes did not explicitly link Damian Lillard to a move away, he appeared to question the Portland Trail Blazers’ ability to create a championship-winning roster around their 30-year-old star. The 6-time All-Star has been linked with a move to the New York Knicks in recent weeks.
Regarding Lillard and the Trail Blazers, Haynes wrote:
“Lillard must take the onus and recognize the pattern: His inaction has led to inaction. He has been a constant professional and in return, it’s made central figures throughout the organization comfortable. Lillard plays through numerous injuries that go unreported and is one of the most durable players in the NBA. In a condensed season where the path to a title is pretty wide open, the Trail Blazers are proving to be playoff bait yet again.”
Haynes also said that Lillard has been fighting alone and has not received the help he needs to win the NBA championship.
“Simply put, Lillard has not received the help he needs to win a title in this era. As he turns 31 this summer and considering all he’s done for the franchise, a more aggressive, risky approach is needed in order to pair him with another bona fide star. No one has ever questioned the fight in Lillard. But it is fair to ask if he’s been fighting the good fight alone.”
In his ninth season with the Portland Trail Blazers, Damian Lillard is having one of his most impressive years ever. He has battled multiple injuries and is single-handedly responsible for multiple victories in the Portland Trail Blazers’ quest to reach the NBA playoffs.
The Portland Trail Blazers have had multiple vital players missing through injury and have relied on Damian Lillard to an increased extent this season. He has produced 28.9 points and 7.5 assists per game and looks set to ensure that the Portland Trail Blazers participate in the postseason.