Blazers Rumors: Some GM Candidates Wary of Damian Lillard Contract Extension

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistDecember 7, 2021

PORTLAND, OREGON - DECEMBER 06: Damian Lillard # 0 of the Portland Trail Blazers participates in shoot around before the game against the Los Angeles Clippers at Moda Center on December 06, 2021 in Portland, Oregon. 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 Soobum Im/Getty Images)
Soobum Im/Getty Images

Damian Lillard has publicly committed to the Portland Trail Blazers and wants the team to do the same this summer.

It may not be so simple.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported Tuesday that there is "no enthusiasm" among front-office candidates to hand Lillard the two-year, $107 million extension he will reportedly seek this offseason. Potential candidates may be more interested in the job if they have permission to trade the All-Star point guard, per Wojnarowski.

The Blazers are seeking a replacement for president of basketball operations Neil Olshey, whom they fired last week after an investigation into workplace misconduct. 

Joe Cronin is serving as the interim general manager while the team conducts a wide-ranging search for Olshey's replacement. Given the franchise's general state of upheaval over the last year, it would be a surprise if an in-house candidate kept the position. The Blazers fired head coach Terry Stotts in June, and CEO Chris McGowan resigned before Olshey's departure.

Lillard has established himself as the face of the Blazers franchise, a once-in-a-generation home run hit midway through the 2012 draft lottery. While there were concerns regarding his long-term commitment to the Blazers after taking criticism for his part in the hiring of coach Chauncey Billups, Lillard has since given his unequivocal support to the team's future. 

"Everybody is saying what they think I'm thinking, and what they think I'm going to do, but like, I'm not leaving Portland, you know?" Lillard told Jason Quick of The Athletic in mid-October.

Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic reported Monday that Lillard has become frustrated with the state of the team, which is 11-14 and has lost six of its last seven games. The long-running thought has been that the Blazers would revamp their roster, with Lillard being the only lock to stay in Portland.

With that said, it seems as though some executives are more interested in a full-scale rebuild.