Out of all the players in the NBA, Damian Lillard is among the most loyal. The six-time All-Star could go to any team he wants and chase championships, but he’s stayed true to the Portland Trail Blazers. That hasn’t necessarily gotten him to where he wants to be. The city of Portland doesn’t attract superstars and the team’s front office hasn’t made any impactful trades in years.
Veteran NBA Insider for Yahoo Sports Chris Haynes recently decided to write a column titled “Is Damian Lillard fighting the good fight alone in Portland?” In it, he details how the Blazers have failed to surround Lillard with enough talent to help him win a championship.
“Simply put, Lillard has not received the help he needs to win a title in this era,” Haynes wrote. “As he turns 31 this summer and considering all he’s done for the franchise, a more aggressive, risky approach is needed in order to pair him with another bona fide star.
“No one has ever questioned the fight in Lillard. But it is fair to ask if he’s been fighting the good fight alone.”
Now, a column from a writer isn’t necessarily always notable. However, Haynes is very connected with players and he has a strong relationship with Lillard specifically. It’s hard to imagine he’d post this column without some input from the superstar. That’s obviously just speculation, but it’s easy to see why Lillard would be frustrated.
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Will Lillard Consider Leaving if Help Doesn’t Arrive?
The Blazers currently sit as the seventh seed in the Western Conference with a 34-28 record. Lillard was once a serious MVP candidate but has pretty much fallen out of the race. He hasn’t been able to keep up his excellent pace and that could be partially blamed on the fact that he has to do a lot on his own.
While Lillard has always been loyal to Portland, he can only take so much mediocrity. At 30-years-old, he only has so many years left of his prime. If the Blazers get bounced early in the playoffs this year, it’s very possible that Lillard will start thinking about making a change.
Lakers Should Be Keeping an Eye on Situation
One team that has been consistently linked to Lillard is the Los Angeles Lakers. It’s no secret that LeBron James is a big fan of the guard’s game. He picks him every year to play with him in the All-Star game. With a possible powerhouse building with the Brooklyn Nets, the Lakers might need to form their own super team to keep up.
Lillard would fit in seamlessly in Los Angeles. He’d give them a long-term solution for their 3-point shooting issues and is one of the best scorers in the NBA. He’d take a ton of pressure off LeBron. The Lakers already have an elite defense as Frank Vogel is a brilliant defensive coach. That said, the team hasn’t been too great on offense. Lillard isn’t an elite defender but he’s one of the best offensive playmakers in the NBA. Playing for the Lakers would give him a chance to focus on what he’s great at.