While Damian Lillard's long-term future with the Portland Trail Blazers isn't secure, it seems he'll have a strong working relationship with new coach Chauncey Billups heading into the 2020-21 season.
"I've spent a lot of time talking with Dame, just about what I believe in, a lot of my core values as a coach, as a person, as a dude," Billups told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski on his podcast.
"Obviously, I've had a long relationship with Dame that goes far beyond me getting this job. So, a lot of our conversations we talked about how we want to do things offensively as a staff. Defensively, the things we need to change. I watched probably 50 of their games this offseason, just trying to see what some of their tendencies were as a team.
"A lot of it was spent just kind of sharing how I felt about the game. Dame, he has kind of an old soul. Even though this is 2021, he has I feel like a 1990s spirit, an 80s spirit, where he sees the game like the generation I played in sees the game. Really easy conversations. He believes a lot of the things that I believe. So, it went pretty smooth."
Lillard's future has been the source of constant speculation throughout the offseason, with the All-Star guard acknowledging the Blazers need to do better in order to perform at a championship level.
Billups' hiring also led to some criticism of Lillard, who publicly endorsed Billups and Jason Kidd as candidates. Kidd, who later became the Dallas Mavericks' coach, pleaded guilty to spousal abuse of his now ex-wife in 2001, and Billups was accused of rape during his playing career but never charged with a crime.
The controversy has since died down in the public eye, but it was clear Lillard did not take kindly to the criticism—much of which came from Blazers fans themselves.