It’s certainly been trending this way for a while, but earlier this week, any hope that an NBA team had of acquiring Damian Lillard this offseason in a trade with the Portland Trail Blazers probably all but ended.
As captured by The Sports Daily, Lillard went on Instagram Live and was asked at one point if he was going to be leaving Portland.
Lillard’s reply: “I’m not leaving PDX. Not right now at least.”
Then on Wednesday, a feature on Lillard by The Athletic’s Chris Kamrani published in which Lillard was quoted as saying about this summer’s trade rumors, “You get to a position where it’s like, ‘Do I defend myself or do I just say nothing.’ For me, when I’m just hearing stuff that’s not the facts, I’m going to say I didn’t say that.
“Some things I’ve just got to let it be said. I know what the truth is. I know where I stand. It’s not my duty to make the public know … it’s not my job to make them aware of what that is.”
That’s in line with what he told reporters in July as he was preparing with Team USA for the Olympics in Tokyo, where the squad won the gold medal.
“I’m prepared to go in and do my job every year like I always do,” Lillard said then. “Hopefully we make strides in a positive direction and we can become a better team with a new coach. That’s where I am with it.”
The Lillard trade rumors began immediately after the Blazers were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs again (by the Denver Nuggets) and head coach Terry Stotts was fired a short time later after nine seasons.