Lillard addresses trade rumors amid swirling buzz


The Damian Lillard trade talk buzz reached a breaking point on Friday as an insane whirlwind of speculation and "will he, won't he?" seesawing led to Lillard himself addressing the rumors at a USA Basketball press conference.

The chaos began with TrueHoop scribe Henry Abbott reporting Lillard was expected to request a trade in the coming days.

A few hours later, Lillard gave a 1-on-1 interview to Yahoo! Sports' Chris Haynes in which Lillard sounded particularly disaffected with his situation in Portland:

"We're not a franchise that’s just out here losing every year and getting divided. We have positive seasons; we just don't end up with a championship. So I feel like at this point, I basically made the decision that if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll always be where you've always been."

In the hours after the TrueHoop report broke, reckless speculation and questionable sources began throwing possible Lillard destinations all over the Internet.

Then, later in the day, OregonLive's Aaron Fentress reported Lillard would not request a trade - and then Lillard was reported to be meeting with Trail Blazers brass in Las Vegas.

Finally, we heard from Lillard himself at a press conference Friday afternoon, where he unsurprisingly shot down the rumblings:


"It's not true. ... A lot of things are being said. It hasn't come from me. ... I haven't made any firm decision on what my future will be, so there's really no need for anybody else to speak for me, to report this, to report that."

No real surprise there. Even if he'd like a change of scenery, he's not going to come out and say it like that in a press conference.

The Sixers are reportedly very interested in a shot at Lillard, and are also reportedly open to trade talks surrounding Ben Simmons. You can connect the dots there and figure out that, if Lillard is eventually ready to be moved or Portland is ready to move him, Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey will likely be the first one on the phone to try and strike a deal.

But ultimately, what did we learn today? Not a whole lot. 

The Trail Blazers' front office has been in disarray since the organization botched the Chauncey Billups hire. Lillard has seem unhappy with the situation in Portland - annual pretenders, never contenders - since his team was bounced from the first round once again.

It's totally possible the Blazers will decide to blow it up and trade Lillard in search of a rebuild package. It's possible Lillard wants to leave, but would also be amenable to staying if the organization shows it's willing to change some things. And maybe he wants to leave, but the better time for that move will be at the trade deadline next season.

It was a chaotic day with a lot of raised hopes and big emotions, but we're still left waiting on a possible fix for the Sixers' frustratingly good-not-great roster.