A disappointing start to the season for the Portland Trail Blazers and franchise superstar Damian Lillard has left a lot of questions about the state of the organization.
Speaking to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, Lillard opened up about the rough beginning in an interview published Thursday.
"People are saying, ‘Dame is frustrated.’ I am frustrated with losing and not playing my best," he said. "But that doesn’t mean I’m sour on my team and I’m looking elsewhere. … That has never been me. This isn’t my first time being in a tough situation."
With the Blazers off to an 11-18 start, speculation about Lillard's future has started to pick up lately.
Last week, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Lillard wants a two-year, $107 million extension from the Blazers that he is eligible to sign in July.
However, Wojnarowski noted that Portland's search for a new general manager could impact any potential extension offers for Lillard:
"Among several top-level GM candidates who fit the profile of Portland's applicant pool, there's no enthusiasm to grant Lillard his massive extension contract through the 2026-27 season. In fact, several executives told ESPN they would be far more interested in the Blazers job with ownership's blessing to move Lillard sooner than later."
For now, though, the Blazers are trying to pull out of a tailspin. They have lost seven straight and 10 of their last 11 games.
Lillard still doesn't look like himself after missing nearly two weeks with an abdominal strain. He's averaged 25.3 points, 6.7 assists and 6.0 rebounds with a 31.9 field-goal percentage in three games since returning.
The six-time All-Star is shooting a career-low 38.4 percent from the field and 30.5 percent from three-point range. His scoring average of 22.0 points per game is his worst since the 2014-15 season (21.0).
Despite being seven games under .500, the Blazers are only one game behind the Sacramento Kings for the No. 10 seed and 3.5 games back of the Dallas Mavericks for the seventh spot in the Western Conference standings.