Another year, another disappointing playoff exit for Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers. After leading by as many as 14 points in the contest, the Blazers allowed the Denver Nuggets to storm back. The Blazers were outscored by Denver 28-14 in the 4th quarter as the Nuggets would go on to win the game and the series with a 126-115 victory.
While basketball is indeed a team game, one person who could not be blamed on the Blazers’ side was Lillard. The All-Star had 28 points and 13 assists in the defeat. This comes after dropping a sizzling 55 points in a disappointing overtime victory on the road in Game 5. Lillard has often held firm to his loyalty to Portland and the Blazers organization. However, continuous losing can quickly change the mind of a player of Lillard’s caliber. According to ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, teams have already begun calling to inquire about the availability of the All-NBA point guard.
Knicks Have Already Called To Inquire About Lillard
“A lot of teams have been eliminated over the last couple of days as you all know, and as a result, especially when Damian Lillard got eliminated last night, several calls have come their [the Blazers] way. You got a lot of teams, about six or seven different teams who believe that they can get their hands on him, they think they’ve got a shot,” Stephen A. said on the Friday June 4 episode of First Take.
“One of them includes the Knicks who are scheduled to have about $75 million in cap space, along with some picks but also the Clippers, the Miami Heat, and who knows what the Lakers may try to do. Stay tuned the Damian Lillard news could ultimately be percolating a little bit sooner than later, much to my surprise.”
Lillard’s Cryptic Instagram Post Hints at Portland Exit
In 2019 the Blazers made it to the Conference Finals in a loaded Western Conference. Despite getting swept dominantly by the then-defending champion Golden State Warriors, the Blazers were seen as a team with a lot of promise and a bright future. Unfortunately for the Blazers, they may have peaked as a squad in 2019. Since that year they have suffered back-to-back first-round exits.
Lillard is one of the most elite players in the NBA. Although he has never won the award, Lillard has had multiple MVP-caliber seasons, yet he has not enjoyed the playoff success of guys like Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, and LeBron James. Lillard’s latest Instagram post shows that he may be looking to move on from Portland, sooner rather than later.
Dame Has Remained Loyal to the Blazers
We as fans of the NBA have seen stars leave teams, we assumed they would retire with. While nothing is a guarantee in the NBA, Lillard has stated time and time again how much he wants to bring a championship to the city of Portland and what it would mean to him.
“For me, it just means a lot to be considered amongst the best players to play in this organization,” Lillard said per Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. “Because there’s been so many great players here, and to win a championship because we’ve only won one and it’s been so long, that would just be the best ending for me.”
On the season Lillard averaged 28.8 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 7.5 assists per game. He would be a welcomed addition to any NBA franchise.