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Rumor: Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard getting antsy

Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard

PORTLAND, OR - JUNE 3: Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers looks on during the game against the Denver Nuggets on June 3, 2021 at the Moda Center Arena in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

Damian Lillard in 2019 on leaving the Trail Blazers to join a super team: What would be the fun in that?

Know what else isn’t fun? Playing incredibly and still losing in the first round.

Jason Quick of The Athletic:

There are rumblings that Damian Lillard is getting antsy.
there is a palpable sense of urgency coming from Lillard’s camp. Lillard wants to win big, and he wants to do it now

Of course, Lillard wants to win big and win now. He’s a tremendous competitor.

The big question: How will he channel that antsiness?

More specifically: Will he demand a trade?

Portland is in a relatively tough spot. Lillard is due a whopping $176,265,152 over the next four seasons and is an excellent player. That makes it hard to clear cap space for free agents or land valuable high draft picks. And as great as he is, Lillard isn’t quite the caliber of player who can singlehandedly lift a team deep into the playoffs.

The Trail Blazers have players they could trade – most prominently C.J. McCollum. But he helps the team already. So, while rearranging pieces could create a better-fitting and therefore better roster, it probably wouldn’t be a massive boost.

Lillard will just have to decide what’s important to him.

He has said he’s not willing to sell himself out for a championship. That’s not an isolated statement. Lillard has expressed his desire to stay in Portland over and over and over.

But perspective can change.

This situation will be closely monitored. Lillard is highly coveted. Him changing teams could shake the entire NBA landscape.

Still, I’d give Lillard’s own words more credence. Many people want him to force his way to a better team, projecting their own values onto him. Whenever he has explained how he wants his career to unfold, he has prioritized staying with the Trail Blazers.