Damian Lillard’s future in Portland has been a popular topic of discussion throughout this offseason.
Dame has done himself no favors from mitigating speculation through his social media posts and public comments.
And then Friday happened. Henry Abbott of TrueHoop cited a source close to Damian Lillard saying the All-Star guard is expected to request a trade from the Blazers in the coming days.
Abbott, a Portland native, appeared on The Bridge Monday evening to give some insight into his reporting.
“I stand by the reporting and I don’t think things are going very well between Lillard and the Blazers,” he said.
The report set the internet ablaze and led Lillard to refute the report later in the day during his USA Basketball media availability.
"It’s not true," Lillard said following Team USA’s practice on Friday afternoon. "I haven’t made any firm decision on what my future will be."
Although Lillard refuted Abbott’s report, him saying he hasn’t “made any firm decisions” would seem to give Abbott’s reporting some life. Maybe we’re nitpicking his words, but Lillard has a track record of being directly committed to Portland.
This season will mark the first year of a 4-year, $196 million Lillard signed with the Blazers in 2019. He was committed to the team two years ago off the heels of an appearance in the Western Conference Finals. A couple of years later and the team has exited in round one.
From Lillard’s presser, he also said he “expects” to be a Blazer come opening night 2021.
On the day of Abbott’s report, Lillard had a meeting with the Blazers brass, which likely made that day a little more complicated for all parties involved.
“These meetings are important and it’s not good to go into them with this report out there so he refuted it,” Abbott said.
What may be an interesting sprinkle from Abbott’s reporting is what could be a hierarchy issue within the Blazers. He mentioned on The Bridge how he’s received mixed opinions of GM Neil Olshey’s job security and doesn’t foresee Olshey and Lillard being on the team together this season.
“I don’t think we’re going to have Jody Allen, Neil Olshey and Damian Lillard all working under the same roof next season,” Abbott said.
Check out the full interview Monday night at 6pm on The Bridge. Check your local listings for channel and replay times.