Damian Lillard Denies Rumor He'd Give Up Money to Force Trade: 'Why Would I Do That?'

Adam WellsJuly 29, 2021

United States' Damian Lillard (6) plays against Spain during the first half of an exhibition basketball game in preparation for the Olympics, Sunday, July 18, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
AP Photo/John Locher

Damian Lillard has vehemently denied a report that he would be willing to give up some of his salary to facilitate a trade from the Portland Trail Blazers. 

Henry Abbott of TrueHoop (h/t Steve Dewald of Blazer's Edge) published a report Tuesday that the six-time All-Star would "forgo paychecks to get to a title team," prompting Lillard to say "why would I do that" when speaking to reporters today:

Dime @DimeUPROXX

Damian Lillard was asked about a report suggesting he would give back some of his salary to get to a title team:<br><br>“Why would I do that?” <br><br>“No.” <a href="https://t.co/o41NDYKGfJ">pic.twitter.com/o41NDYKGfJ</a>

After Abbott took to Twitter to defend his reporting, Lillard responded directly to him:

Damian Lillard @Dame_Lillard

Now ask yourself that same question about me. I’ve been transparent for a decade..I never denied where I stood following the season… don’t loop me in becuz of the state of the game right now. What you are reporting is simply not the facts bro. I’m the ultimate source <a href="https://t.co/CF9DM7PeS4">https://t.co/CF9DM7PeS4</a>

There's been no indication from Lillard or his camp that he wants to leave the Blazers right now.

Sam Amick of The Athletic reported Wednesday that Lillard is waiting until after he finishes up with Team USA in the Olympics "before reassessing his situation" with the Blazers later in the offseason to see how their roster looks. 

Speaking to reporters earlier this month, Lillard explained his current mindset and what he would like to see from Portland's front office: 

"I just think we've reached that point where it's like, OK, it's not enough. Do we actually want to win it all? Is that what we're shooting for? We've got to do things to show that. We've got to put action behind that. That desire to win at that level -- that's been my only thing this entire time."

Next season will mark the start of Lillard's four-year, $176.2 million contract extension he originally signed in July 2019. The 31-year-old is owed $39.3 million in 2021-22 and more than $40 million in 2022-23 and 2023-24. 

Lillard has been the face of the franchise in Portland for most of his nine-year career. He has been named to the All-NBA team six times, including three straight appearances on the second team since the 2018-19 campaign. 

The Blazers have made the postseason in each of the past eight seasons, but they have only advanced past the first round three times.

Lillard averaged 28.8 points per game on 45.1 percent shooting and 7.5 assists per game in 67 starts last season.