Since the Blazers’ season has ended, Damian Lillard has been the subject of multiple trade rumors.
The main reason being is because the team is seeming like its peaked, the firing of Terry Stotts, and Lillard not getting any younger as he’ll turn 31 in July.
One of the teams linked to Lillard has been the New York Knicks. He’s already denied his interest in the team before the rumors swirled, but the rumor mill doesn’t care about that.
Enes Kanter, a former Knick, reiterated something Lillard has said ad nauseam: he wants to win in Portland and nowhere else.
“You know one thing he doesn’t care about big markets, small markets,’’ Kanter said Monday on SiriusXM Radio. “He wants to win it all in Portland. I’m saying this every time I talk about him, but he’s definitely one of the most loyal and maybe the most loyal player in the league. People always talk about how good of a player he is, but he’s actually one of the best teammates that I’ve played with.”
Lillard’s loyalty to the city of Portland is deep. Despite the team’s limited success in the playoffs, he recently signed a four-year, $176 million extension to remain with the team until he’s at least 34.
A star of his magnitude in today’s NBA climate usually entertains free agency and has an interest in departing a non-improving situation for a team with other All-Star caliber players. That doesn’t interest Lillard and he’s gone on the record multiple times giving his opinion on players teaming up.
“When you’re like one of the top five players in the league, of course you got to be frustrated because you want to go out there and win it all,’’ Kanter said. “And when that is not happening it can be very frustrating, but for him, he wants to do it all in Portland. He doesn’t care about the big market, big-city base, and that he wants to just bring a championship to Portland and the state of Oregon.
“I think the one thing that maybe will be frustrating is if he couldn’t do it for Portland because this guy gives it all every night. Every night he’s hurt, he’s tired, he’s going out there and trying to do the best he can to just win with every game and give us 100 percent.
The Knicks as a team don’t have anything worth Lillard wanting to make the jump to the Big Apple. Their two best players, Julius Randle and RJ Barrett, fizzled in the playoffs against the Hawks
Doing more with less doesn’t seem appealing to Lillard.
What he needs is help in Portland and that’s easier said than done.