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Neil Olshey on Damian Lillard Trade: Blazers 'Will Never Be Receptive' Despite Rumors

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 27, 2021

Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images

Damian Lillard has been the subject of trade rumors throughout the offseason, but Portland Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey said Monday that the team will "will never be receptive of moving Dame."

Lillard has spent his entire nine-year NBA career with the Trail Blazers and is signed through the 2024-25 season.

There was still speculation during the summer that the guard would want a fresh start after Portland lost in the first round of the playoffs for the fourth time in the last five seasons.

Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports reported the team's inability to build a contender around him and the backlash following the hiring of head coach Chauncey Billups might eventually push him out the door.

The Philadelphia 76ers were reportedly especially interested in Lillard as part of a potential swap with Ben Simmons, per Shams Charania of The Athletic, but the Blazers instead plan to build around the superstar.

Lillard has been one of the NBA's top offensive weapons during his career while earning six All-Star selections. He ranked third in the league with an average of 28.8 points per game last season after averaging 30.0 per game in 2019-20.

The production has helped the Trail Blazers reach the playoffs in each of the last eight seasons.

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Though a Lillard trade would likely signal a rebuild, keeping him should be enough to help the Blazers stay among the top teams in the Western Conference. 

Portland will hope retaining its core from last year while adding veteran depth pieces like Larry Nance Jr., Cody Zeller, Ben McLemore and Tony Snell will be enough to take the next step toward contending for a title.  

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