Portland Trail Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard considered one of the most loyal players in the NBA today. After being drafted by the Trail Blazers in 2012 he has spent the entirety of his eight-year career in Portland.
Portland has always been a middle-of-the-pack type team. They were never a terrible team, but they were not good enough to place amongst the elite teams either. This year, however, they have been bad.
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Lillard Tells the World What We Already Knew
Lillard and the Blazers have lost five of their last seven games and are fighting to stay in the playoff picture. They sit at 7th place in the Western Conference with a record of 34-28. Lillard knows that the team has not been playing well, but also understands that the small market Portland Trail Blazers do not have the luxury of having multiple stars on their roster such as a major market team in the Brooklyn Nets.
“We’re not the Brooklyn Nets. They have superstar power,” Lillard said per Sean Highkin of Bleacher Report.
“You know the ability of that team. One day they can get hot and run you out of the gym. We’re not that team. But we’ve been in a ditch and we’re figuring out a way to get out of it.”
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Dame Defends Nets’ Culture
Before the sudden retirement of LaMarcus Aldridge, the Brooklyn Nets had 42 NBA All-Star appearances between six players on their roster (Aldridge, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan, Kyrie Irving, James Harden, Kevin Durant) making them at least on paper, one of the best teams in NBA history.
However, many people were opposed to what the Nets are doing including Hall of Famer Julius Irving who claimed that the Nets were trying to buy a championship.
“It’s reminiscent of how the Yankees used to do it all the time. They load up – they call it ‘buying a championship.’ The Lakers are known for doing that too.],” Dr. J said of the Nets via NBC Sports.
Lillard had a strong response to the Hall of Famer.
“I think that’s just the era that we are in. A lot of the media outlets are to blame for that,” the All-Star said During a recent appearance on ESPN’s Jalen and Jacoby.
“We talk about the guys that don’t win a ring. Look how they talk about Charles Barkley.”
Charles Barkley Is Rooting For the Nets To Fail
The super team era has been a topic of debate for years. It particularly seems to rub retired players the wrong way. Charles Barkley recently said on Inside the NBA that he would rather see anybody, but the Nets win the championship because of the way they have constructed their roster.
“I don’t like the way they put the team together,” Barkley said on per Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson. You know I’m never going to be a proponent of guys teaming up. Never going to be for it. I’m rooting for anybody to beat Brooklyn.”
Dame Is in Portland for the Long Haul
After making it all the way to the Western Conference Finals in 2019 it seemed to be clear that there was promise in the Blazers’ future. That same summer Lillard signed a four-year $196 Million supermax contract to remain with the franchise making it clear that he wanted to be a Blazer for life.
“I think we’ve built something special,” Lillard told reporters via Bleacher Report. “It’s real genuine. The environment we’ve created is something I’ve been a part of and something I want to continue to be a part of.”
Dame will not become a free agent until 2025. However, after pulling off the trade of the year for James Harden it is clear that Sean Marks and the Nets’ front office are capable of anything they set their minds to.