NBA Rumors: Damian Lillard Interested in Supermax Contract with Trail BlazersMarch 27, 2019
All-Star guard Damian Lillard is reportedly interested in signing a contract extension with the Portland Trail Blazers.
According to ESPN's Brian Windhorst, Lillard is "comfortable with his commitment" to the Blazers and has no concerns about ownership. Because of that, he is expected to consider what is likely to be a supermax extension offer from Portland during the offseason.
Lillard has spent his entire seven-year NBA career with the Blazers, and he has developed into one of the NBA's most productive guards during that time.
Per Windhorst, Lillard met with then-owner Paul Allen last season to discuss the direction of the franchise. Allen died in October, but Lillard's previous issues with the franchise have reportedly "calmed," and the possibility of Blazers getting sold isn't expected to play a role in his decision to remain with the team long term.
In February, Lillard spoke with Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports about why he hasn't requested a trade from the Blazers despite the team not enjoying much playoff success:
Yahoo Sports NBA @YahooSportsNBA
"I'm not willing to sell myself out for (championships)" @Dame_Lillard on why he hasn't left Portland. The @Trailblazers All-Star joined @ChrisBHaynes on the latest episode of Posted Up... You DO NOT want to miss this! ➡️https://t.co/Kq6uHbx3hS https://t.co/MxHIqF3vmp
Lillard said he wasn't willing to "sell myself out" to win a championship. He also suggested that he doesn't want to be selfish:
"When my career is over and I'm gonna know the relationships that I'm gonna have. I am going to know the people who knew I was solid with them regardless of if I was at the top or if I control it. All of this stuff. That I did it the right way and I took people's situations and their families and what could be into consideration before I just made a decision based off, 'All right, this is what would be best for me. This is what people want to see me do.'"
Over the past several years, it has become commonplace for star players to force their way out of less-than-ideal situations or join already stacked teams in free agency.
LeBron James and Chris Bosh joined forces with Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat. Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins signed with the Golden State Warriors in free agency. Both Kyrie Irving and Anthony Davis essentially demanded trades.
Lillard seemingly has no desire to be part of that club, even though the Blazers have not made it past the second round of the playoffs during his tenure.
That could potentially change this season, as Portland is third in the Western Conference at 46-27. The Blazers chances of making a deep run did take a hit this week, though, when budding center Jusuf Nurkic was lost for the remainder of the season with a broken leg.
With Nurkic out, the burden will fall even more so on the shoulders of Lillard, who is averaging 26.4 points, 6.8 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game.
The Blazers have a strong nucleus with Lillard, Nurkic and CJ McCollum leading the way, and while Lillard could likely win a championship more quickly elsewhere, the pieces for a championship down the line could already be in place in Portland.
Lillard still has two years left on his contract beyond this season, but given the turnover of star players in the NBA, the Blazers would likely love to get him locked in as soon as possible.