Amid the unwavering patience and commitment to pursue general manager Daryl Morey and the Philadelphia 76ers, the Portland Trail Blazers made it crystal clear: They are not willing to send Damian Lillard to the City of Brotherly Love.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN pointed out that the Blazers aren’t interested in tackling conversations with the Sixers centered around Lillard, and the team remains uninterested in shipping the superstar away.
On Wednesday, Lillard told Jason Dumas of KRON4 News that he is taking the challenge of becoming one of Portland’s solutions and not thinking of requesting a trade.
“I been here for 10 years, and I’m trying to be a part of the solution,” he said. “We’re out here to do a job. We’re out here to try to win and try to win big. I feel like that’s something I’m here to do, and I’m just trying to be a part of the solution.”
“I’m not asking for a trade. I don’t know how many times I’ve got to say it.”
In a separate interview with reporters, Lillard expressed his frustrations on being the main topic of discussion in the swirling trade rumors, in spite of the fact that he already made it clear that he is working with head coach Chauncey Billups to turn things around.
“I don’t know how many times I got to say it. … I sit in the office with Chauncey [Billups] everyday and we’re trying to find solutions… and I am dealing with these people everyday that I walk in our practice facility trying to find solutions. Why would I be apart of trying to find solutions if I am planning on an exit? That’s not what’s going on.”
In the meantime, it was reported that Lillard was connecting with interim GM Joe Cronin for roster reconstruction.
Lillard has been the focal target of Philadelphia possibly in exchange for the embattled Ben Simmons, but since Portland now clarified it, Morey may look into other options to give All-NBA center Joel Embiid a strong right-hand man.
Lillard is currently averaging 21.4 points, 7.8 assists, 4.0 boards, and 39.7 shooting in the rough 2021-2022 campaign so far. He remains unavailable due to an abdominal injury.