Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard repeatedly denied reports that he was expected to request a trade in the coming days while speaking with the media on Friday afternoon.
“I woke up to those reports, a lot of people reaching out to me,” Lillard said. “But it’s not true. I’ll start off the rip and say it’s not true. I said the last time I spoke to guys that a lot of things are being said and it hasn’t come from me. No. 1 it’s not true and secondly, I also say that I haven’t made any firm decision on what my future will be. There’s really no need for anyone else to speak for me, or report this or that. If there’s something to be said, I’ll speak directly with my team.”
Lillard, 31, has spent all of his nine seasons in the NBA with the Blazers and is a six-time All-Star. This past year, he averaged 28.8 points per game, the second-best mark of his career as the Blazers lost to the Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs.
That has led to repeated rumors of Lillard requesting out, as the Blazers have advanced to the Western Conference Finals just once in his career. That season, they were swept by the Warriors.
“Right now, I’m not sure what I’m going to do,” Lillard said. “My intentions and my heart have always been set on being in a Blazers uniform for my entire career. I want to win it all in a Trail Blazers uniform, but we all have to be making strides toward that.”
He mentioned urgency numerous times as he wants the organization to be fully committed to winning a championship as he is.
“We’re not a bad team, we’re a winning team,” Lillard said. “We’re in the playoffs every year, we’ve got a great environment, we’re in a great city, we’ve got great fans, it’s a lot of positives. I just think we’ve reached that point where it’s, OK, it’s not enough. Do we actually want to win it all? Is that what we’re shooting for? We’ve got to do things to show that, we’ve got to put action behind that desire to win at that level.”
As for potential teams, the 76ers have long been a rumored trade partner. Still, Lillard said he hasn’t begun to consider potential fits on different teams, as that would mean he has made a decision one way or the other.
Simply, Lillard was adamant he hadn’t made up his mind on what he wants to do just yet. And should a trade request eventually come, there will be an epic bidding war for his services.
But for now, he says he wants to win a title in a Blazers uniform.