The situation between the Portland Trailblazers and star point guard Damian Lillard seems to be a ticking time bomb ready to explode at any moment. With rumors indicating the New York Knicks could be involved in a trade scenario, that reality is becoming even more probable with the latest news, indicating Lillard’s displeasure with a franchise and the desire for change.
Chris Haynes of Yahoo reported on Friday that Lillard feels as though changes need to be made behind the scenes with the Blazers, essentially putting the ball in their court. With the coaching staff set to overturn and ownership potentially on the move, things are getting murky for Portland and their disgruntled star.
There are few reasons: One being I’m not getting any younger. Our environment has always been great. We’re not losing a lot, but we were eliminated by a shorthanded Denver team that I felt we should have beat. I just walked away from that really disappointed. I was like, ‘Man, this just isn’t going to work.’ We’re not winning the championship, but we’ve got a successful organization. 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. Just like I hold myself accountable for a bad performance or hold myself accountable to make sure that I work my ass off when I’m training, I must be accountable for saying what needs to be said even if it’s not popular. And that just comes with age. When I was younger, I felt like maybe I’ll be out of place, but I feel like I’ve earned the right to say we must do better. We must do better if we want to win on that level.
Lillard is reportedly eyeing the Knicks as a potential trade suitor if he decides to force his way out, which could commence in the coming days, according to Grant Afseth of Sports Illustrated.
Trail Blazers superstar Damian Lillard has his eyes on the New York Knicks among trade destinations in the event he were to be dealt, per a source.
— Grant Afseth (@GrantAfseth) July 16, 2021
The process between Damian and the front office has been wayward, as they completely left him out of the coaching search after he provided a list of names he was content with. In fact, the fan base attacked him for his part in the strategy, and he shot back, indicating he was barely involved, having only provided a list of names and not actually being involved in the search.
Chris Haynes of Yahoo stated a few weeks ago that Lillard was essentially cut out of the hiring process, which could have contributed toward his contempt:
Lillard has remained loyal to Portland in large part due to the tremendous fan base. But over the last few days, he’s seen some of those same fans attacking him on social media for a pending coaching hire he played no part in consummating, sources said.
Portland is currently in negotiations to make Los Angeles Clippers assistant coach Chauncey Billups its next head coach.
The coaching search was conducted by Neil Olshey, the team’s president of basketball operations. None of the candidates who were interviewed were from suggestions from Lillard, sources said.
With the situation unfolding rapidly, there is a chance the Knicks could enter the fold and seek a trade, but it would take a massive amount of resources to do so. It would likely require a multi-team deal, if not New York parting ways with RJ Barrett, multiple draft picks, and additional young talents.