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Damian Lillard Says Trail Blazers Chair Jody Allen Never Refused to Take His Call

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJuly 8, 2022

AP Photo/John McCoy

Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard rebutted speculation regarding alleged communication issues with team chair Jody Allen.

Sources told the New York Post on Thursday that Allen "refused to talk" with the six-time NBA All-Star, which led him to develop "issues with the way the team is being run."

Lillard provided a statement to Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes on Friday:

Chris Haynes @ChrisBHaynes

Damian Lillard to <a href="https://twitter.com/YahooSports?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@YahooSports</a> on report that Portland Trail Blazers owner Jody Allen refused to take his call: <a href="https://t.co/PMQqncIwWg">pic.twitter.com/PMQqncIwWg</a>

The 31-year-old California native has spent his entire pro career with the Blazers, who selected him in the 2012 NBA draft.

Allen took over day-to-day operations of the Blazers, along with the NFL's Seattle Seahawks, following the death of her brother, Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, in October 2018.

She's been in the spotlight amid rumors the sports franchises could be sold, but a statement released Tuesday suggested those discussions aren't imminent:

Portland Trail Blazers @trailblazers

Statement from Jody Allen <a href="https://t.co/oAezfb398o">pic.twitter.com/oAezfb398o</a>

Meanwhile, the Blazers have trended in the wrong direction since reaching the 2019 Western Conference Finals. They were eliminated from the playoffs in the first round the next two years and missed the postseason altogether this past season.

Portland began to restructure the roster around Lillard, who was limited to 29 games in 2021-22 because of an abdominal injury, ahead of the trade deadline in February.

CJ McCollum, Lillard's longtime backcourt running mate, along with Robert Covington and Norman Powell led the group of notable departures in a series of deals centered around the acquisition of depth players and draft picks.

The revitalization process has continued during the offseason following a trade with the Detroit Pistons for Jerami Grant and the free-agent signing of Gary Payton II.

Lillard is under contract with Portland through the 2023-24 season as part of a four-year, $176.3 million deal, which includes a player option for 2024-25.

In April, the veteran guard confirmed to CNBC's Jabari Young his intention to remain with the organization despite the other roster changes.

"I have no plans of not being a Portland Trail Blazer," Lillard said. "I want to be here, and I think they want me here."

The 2013 NBA Rookie of the Year has averaged 24.6 points, 6.6 assists, 4.2 rebounds and 3.0 threes across 711 career appearances for the Blazers.

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