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Blazers GM on Damian Lillard: “We have to assume he is leaving to make sure he is not leaving”

Damian Lillard
Photo: David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Despite various rumors about Damian Lillard wanting to leave the Portland Trail Blazers following yet another early playoff exit, the team’s general manager Neil Olshey does not feel like the star actually wants to leave.

“I don’t think he wants to leave. He has built an empire here. But we have to assume he is leaving to make sure he is not leaving,” Olshey said of Lillard, per Jason Quick of The Athletic.

The 31-year-old point guard denied rumors that he made a trade request to the Blazers, saying he has not made a firm decision on his future yet. ESPN insider Briand Windhorst reported that Lillard wants Portland to make major roster improvements ahead of the next season.

Should the six-time All-Star decide to move elsewhere, there is plenty of interest in his services. Most recently, it was reported that the Philadelphia 76ers and the New York Knicks are among teams ‘aggressively pursuing’ Lillard.

This past season, Lillard averaged 28.8 points, 4.2 rebounds and 7.5 assists per game for the Trail Blazers.

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