Damian Lillard Says He Couldn't Join Team Like Golden State Warriors

Joe Pantorno@@JoePantornoFeatured ColumnistOctober 13, 2016

OAKLAND, CA - MAY 11:  Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers stands on the court during their loss to the Golden State Warriors in Game Five of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2016 NBA Playoffs on May 11, 2016 at Oracle Arena in Oakland, California.  NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Portland Trail Blazers star point guard Damian Lillard is preparing for the 2016-17 season under a five-year, $139.9 million deal, per Spotrac. But even if the opportunity arose for him to hit free agency and choose a team of his liking, he wouldn't join the league's newest superteam in the Golden State Warriors.  

On Thursday, Lillard went on The Jim Rome Show and discussed how he wouldn't want to join a roster riddled with All-NBA talent like Kevin Durant did when he signed with the Warriors in July, via Kurt Helin of Pro Basketball Talk:

I was saying joining other big time players and joining a team like Golden State is that something I couldn’t see myself doing. We play this game to win and if that’s what somebody is willing to do to win and if that’s what they want to go and do then that’s fine, it’s not against the rules we can’t be mad at anybody for joining whatever team they want to join but what I was saying I’d rather do it with the team I have. I’d rather build it up and to being a championship team.

It was an attempt to clarify what the two-time All-Star said on Oct. 4, when he told SiriusXM NBA Radio (h/t Helin) that he "might have too much pride" for a move like Durant made: "What I was saying was about myself, it wasn’t about anybody else."

Lillard has become one of the premier point guards in the NBA, coming off a 2015-16 season in which he averaged a career-high 25.1 points and 6.8 assists per game. But Golden State beat Portland in five games in the Western Conference Semifinals. 

While he expressed his desire to win a championship with his Blazers, he will be facing overwhelming odds just to make it out of the Western Conference. 

Per OddsShark.com, the Blazers are 100-1 to win the NBA title, while the Warriors, who now feature Durant alongside superstars Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, are 5-7 favorites. 

In Portland, Lillard will rely on guard C.J. McCollum as the other half of the Blazers' dynamic duo. McCollum did put up a career year with 20.8 points per game; however, the two are underwhelming compared to what Golden State is prepared to roll out.

With the odds stacked against him and his team, Lillard will look to take the Blazers past the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2000. That road to success might wind through Golden State and a team he just couldn't see himself playing for, though.


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