The Portland Trail Blazers reportedly have "no interest" in trading star point guard Damian Lillard, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, who added that the franchise has made it clear to the Philadelphia 76ers that he is unavailable.
The news comes after The Athletic's Shams Charania and Sam Amick reported Monday that Lillard had interest in playing with 76ers guard Ben Simmons
But while Lillard apparently wants to play with Simmons, it appears the Sixers had been trying to acquire the former while parting ways with the latter. According to NBA insider Marc Stein, the Sixers are looking for a trade package for Simmons that includes a player such as Lillard or Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
Lillard has been involved in trade rumors over the last several seasons given Portland's lack of success in the playoffs. The Trail Blazers have failed to make it out of the first round in four of the last five campaigns, including a first-round loss to the Denver Nuggets during the 2021 postseason.
The star point guard also expressed disappointment in Portland's inability to acquire some of its top targets this summer and made a cryptic post on Instagram after the Blazers were eliminated for the playoffs in June with the caption: "How long should I stay dedicated? How long til opportunity meet preparation?"
The Athletic's Charania and Jason Quick also reported in June that multiple NBA teams were "intensely monitoring" Lillard's situation in Portland and looking for an opportunity to make trade offers.
However, Lillard told Quick in October that he had no interest in leaving the Blazers, noting that first-year head coach Chauncey Billups is a big reason why:
“I think a big part of (my change in mindset) was me and Chauncey’s conversations, and where we see things the same. I’m not going to share details of our conversations, but it’s not often when I speak to people that they see what I see. Watching a game, observing people … there’s not many people who see what I see. But a lot of what I see, he sees. So that was very important to me. Like, that was a big deal.”
Lillard has spent his entire 10-year career with the Trail Blazers, and the team has only reached the Western Conference Finals once in that span. And although Portland is out to a rough start this season with an 11-15 record, the 31-year-old appears to be giving it his all.
Through 20 games this season, Lillard is averaging 21.5 points, 7.8 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game. He is just shooting 39.7 percent from the field and 30.2 percent from deep but has been dealing with a lower abdominal tendinopathy.
Portland has lost each of its last four games and will look to get back on track Sunday against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Moda Center. According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Lillard may be able to return to action after missing the past five contests.