Trail Blazers

Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal have a lot in common, but loyalty tops the list

Trail Blazers

Bradley Beal and Damian Lillard have built up a pretty strong friendship over the years.

The two were both top-six picks in the 2012 NBA Draft and over the course of their NBA careers, they have both stayed loyal to the franchise that drafted them. That loyalty has been the groundwork of their friendship, as detailed in a recent story by Fred Katz and Jason Quick of The Athletic.

In the modern NBA, superstars often face pressure to create super teams if the team they're on isn't winning. But neither Beal nor Lillard has taken that step to leave their original team, and the decision to stay put for nine years in the ever-shifting NBA has led to an understanding between the two.

“I know how he feels because I get that all the time: ‘You should go here; you should go there …’ from all kinds of different people, and I know he gets it too,” Lillard said, per Katz and Quick. “We’ve had that conversation."

Of course, Lillard's name is often tossed about as a possible trade target when the Portland Trail Blazers are in a slump. That same has been true of Beal as well, especially at the beginning of this year when the Wizards were struggling.

But as Lillard communicated, both he and Beal are "invested" in winning where they currently are.

He has the same feeling about it as I have: I just don’t want to go elsewhere. This is our ninth year. We’ve been so invested in this to where it’s like, this is what it is. This is where I want to get it done. And I’m sure he feels that same way.

Damian Lillard, per The Athletic

That's certainly music to the ears of Blazers and Wizards fans. As frustrating as it is not to win with a superstar while having trouble building around them, it's even more frustrating to lose a superstar, be it on the trade market or via free agency.

 

But as Lillard put it, he wants to win a championship in Portland, and nothing could compare to achieving that.

"I want to see it through here,’’ Lillard said. "And I want to see it through here more than I care to go somewhere else and just win it, period, you know?

"I feel like if I did go to another team and we won the championship, I would be obviously beyond happy and excited, but I don’t think it would be the same feeling as if I went through everything we went through here and worked for everything we worked for here. It wasn’t here. It would hit different for me here."

Hopefully, Lillard will have a chance to accomplish his ultimate goal.