NBA Notes: Trail Blazers, Damian Lillard, Pacers, Cavs

Trail Blazers

Star guard Damian Lillard says there is value in staying with one team and not hopping around.

“It shows that there’s something there for being committed and having your heart in the right place and having your mind in the right place,” Lillard said, via Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press. “Hopefully it’ll have the impact going forward on players seeing that it doesn’t have to be ‘Oh, the media says this’ or ‘Everybody is telling me this’ and you just get swayed into doing what everybody is trying to convince you to do, because nobody is going to have to live with those decisions like you will.”

Lillard recently agreed to a two-year maximum contract extension that will presumably keep him with the franchise through the end of the 2026-27 season. This despite all the changes around him under new GM Joe Cronin.

“Something that’s missing in our league is the character and the fight and the passion and pride about not just the name on the back, but the name on the front and how you impact the people you come into contact with,” Lillard said. “I think because of how much I’ve embraced that, and haven’t pretended to embrace it, this just shows the power in that.”

  • In case you missed it, the Blazers signed second-round draft pick Jabari Walker to a standard contract, Cronin announced. Walker is a 6-foot-9 forward out of Colorado and has looked good at the Las Vegas Summer League.


Newcomer Aaron Nesmith said he was surprised after learning he had been traded to the Pacers as part of the Malcolm Brogdon deal with the Celtics.

“I was completely caught off guard,” he told Scott Agness of Fieldhouse Files. “I was playing pretty decent and I got the phone call. It messed my day up and I only played one more hole and I called it a day.”

Nesmith is a 6-5 wing and spent each of his two seasons in Boston, averaging 4.2 points and 2.2 rebounds for his career. He could get more of an opportunity in Indiana.

“To play free, be a good 3-and-D guy and I could be a top-notch 3-and-D guy in this league, so that’s the focus,” he told Agness of his role with the Pacers. “That’s what we’re going to work for and that’s what I’m going to become.”


New assistant coach Luke Walton told Kelsey Russo of The Athletic it was a no-brainer to join J.B. Bickerstaff‘s coaching staff.

“Yeah, it’s been wild. I was planning on when the school year ended, I got two kids, and when the school year ended, we were gonna move back to LA,” Walton told Russo. “And then when this happened, we were in the middle of selling a house, and it was we had to find a new house in Cleveland and ship stuff, and also start getting familiar with the Cavs and the players.

“And we’re getting ready for the draft, so I flew out a couple of times to watch draft workouts and to try to find schools and houses and all that stuff. So, it’s been a whirlwind. But like I said, the Cavs are a great organization. They’ve been so open with letting me kind of try to get the family situated and be out here for work. It’s been very busy, but it’s been a lot of fun.”

Walton was fired as coach of the Kings at the start of last season. Interestingly, former Cavs coach Mike Brown is now the coach of Sacramento. A former Cavs forward, Walton also coached the Lakers for three seasons (2016-19).

  • For more on the Cavs’ offseason and what might await, be sure to check out our latest podcast right here.
  • In case you missed it, Cavs guard Collin Sexton has been a targeted by the Jazz in a sign-and-trade. The Jazz are expected to continue such a pursuit. You can read that story here. Or just follow along on our Cavs page here for all the latest.

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