Damian Lillard: Blazers Have Assets to Build ‘Team That Can Compete’

Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard isn’t giving up hope.Damian Lillard

True, it’s been a rough go of things over the last two seasons, the Blazers failing to reach the playoffs in each of coach Chauncey Billups‘ two years. Some of that has to do with injuries — including some to Lillard. Some of it also has to do with roster construction.

Either way, Lillard appears to want to stick with it in the only place he’s called NBA home.

“I want to have an opportunity to win in Portland,” Lillard said, via Showtime Sports and Clutch Points. “We got an opportunity, asset-wise, to build a team that can compete. If we can’t do that…then it’s a separate conversation we would have to have.”

In other words, Lillard seemingly would like GM Joe Cronin to look to make some moves. As Lillard mentioned, Portland certainly has some assets, starting with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.

At that spot, the Blazers are expected to take either G League guard Scoot Henderson or Alabama forward Brandon Miller, whoever doesn’t go No. 2 to the Hornets.

Then again, Lillard has made it fairly clear he doesn’t want to be part of a rebuild. He wants to win — and soon.

But again, from the sounds of things, Lillard isn’t looking to move. When asked if it’s time for the Blazers to move him to a contender, Lillard was diplomatic.

“I think that’s a loaded question,” Lillard said, “because they could trade me to somewhere that we all say, you know, ‘This is a contender.’ But what is it going to cost for me to get there? What is it going to cost that team that we’re saying is a contender for me to get there? And how is it a guarantee that we’re gonna be playing in June when I get there? How do we know if everybody’s gonna be healthy? How do we know if it’s gonna work out?”

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