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Damian Lillard

Blazers linked to major potential co-star for Damian Lillard

Damian Lillard in a Blazers jersey

Dec 16, 2019; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

One season in the sewer may have been more than enough for the Portland Trail Blazers.

Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reports Monday that the Blazers want to land a star and that Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal is a potential target. O’Connor adds that Beal befriended Blazers franchise player Damian Lillard when they were teammates for USA Basketball at the Tokyo Olympics.

The report also states that Chicago Bulls guard Zach LaVine is a target for Portland as well, which had already been rumored previously.

Portland has a number of assets to dangle for the three-time All-Star Beal, who can become a free agent by declining his player option for next season. They hold the No. 7 overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft and also have young bucks like Anfernee Simons, Nassir Little, CJ Elleby, and Keon Johnson, many of whom got extended development time this season.

Of course, the Wizards are doing what they can with their roster to convince Beal to stay. But a Blazers team that can carve out max-level cap space and pair him with his best co-star in many years (at least since peak John Wall) has to be one heck of a sell for Beal.

NBA star calls out Patrick Beverley over Chris Paul comments

Patrick Beverley reacts to a play

Nov 13, 2021; Los Angeles, California, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Patrick Beverley (22) enters a game against Los Angeles Clippers during the first quarter at Staples Center. The Clippers won 129-102. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

Patrick Beverley has had a lot to say about the Phoenix Suns being ousted from the NBA playoffs, and one star player is tired of hearing it.

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard questioned some of Beverley’s tweets, particularly about Suns guard Chris Paul. Lillard asked Beverley what Paul had done to him, then criticized Beverley for “weird behavior” and “speaking on private convos and praying on mfs downfall.”

Lillard is right that Beverley seems to be zeroing in on Paul after the Suns lost in seven to Dallas. Beverley essentially accused Paul of faking an injury to excuse his poor performances, and was even more harsh in a TV appearance Monday.

There does appear to be an element of personal annoyance between Beverley and Paul. That said, based on what one of Beverley’s teammates had to say about the Suns, the entire Minnesota roster may have been rooting against Phoenix as a whole.

Damian Lillard hoping to team up with Suns star?

Damian Lillard in a Blazers jersey

Dec 16, 2019; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Damian Lillard was not a participant in this year’s postseason, but he seemed to have his eye on things.

Lillard knows that the Phoenix Suns had a disappointing playoff exit. He may be hoping that one of the Suns’ stars forces his way to the Blazers.

Lillard “liked” a tweet Sunday night that said Deandre Ayton should go win a ring with Lillard.

The tweet is well-timed too.

Not only did the No. 1-seeded Suns lose in the second round of the playoffs at home, but they were blown out and embarrassed in Game 7. Additionally, Ayton seemed to have an issue with his head coach in the game.

Ayton was unhappy with the Suns entering the season due to his contract situation. He will be a restricted free agent and may have his eye on an exit. Lillard is under contract with Portland for three more seasons, counting his player option. He is recovering from abdominal surgery in January.

Robert Horry names best clutch shooter in NBA

Robert Horry looking on

Feb 15, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Shooting stars participant Robert Horry speaks to the media during the a press conference for the all star Saturday night participants at the Hilton Americas. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

With the nickname “Big Shot Bob” and an almost-unparalleled collection of “Hardwood Classics” moments to his name, Robert Horry knows a thing or two about clutch shooting. But Horry’s choice for the best clutch shooter in NBA history is a bit of an unconventional one.

The retired seven-time NBA champion Horry appeared this week on “The Crossover NBA Show” and named Portland Trail Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard as the greatest clutch shooter ever. Horry rounded out his top five with Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Ray Allen, and Steph Curry. Horry also declined to name himself, saying that he was only picking players who had plays primarily run for them.

“People are going to say, ‘Damian Lillard? He hasn’t won anything,'” Horry said. “But Lillard has hit a clutch shot versus every team in the NBA. Think about that. Every team. The last minute or so of a game, he’s come through with a clutch shot, even though he got a lot of shots during the game.”

Lillard is certainly the most atypical pick on Horry’s list, especially as the only player on there who has never won a title. But “Dame Time” exists for a reason, and Lillard is also the only player in NBA history along with Jordan with multiple playoff series-winning buzzer-beaters during his career.

Horry does not always get his hot takes about the NBA right these days. But his pick of Lillard here, although unorthodox, is actually a pretty astute one.

Blazers eyeing new All-Star partner for Damian Lillard?

Damian Lillard in a Blazers jersey

Dec 16, 2019; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Damian Lillard may soon be officially replacing CJ McCollum with a new best friend.

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst said this week on “The Hoop Collective” that the Portland Trail Blazers have emerged as a possible landing spot this offseason for All-Star guard Zach LaVine of the Chicago Bulls.

“Let me just say that as I’ve talked to league executives, when they saw what LaVine said and what they see the Blazers can do, that scenario has popped up,” Windhorst said.

LaVine, who will be a free agent this summer, recently said that he plans to keep an open mind with his future.

The Bulls can offer LaVine the biggest contract (five years for roughly $200 million). But it is unclear if they plan to do so since they already have nearly $70 million committed to just DeMar DeRozan, Nikola Vucevic, and Lonzo Ball for next season. Coby White and Ayo Dosunmu (both 22 years old) also lurk as potentially more cost-effective guards on the roster.

As for the Blazers, they have cap space up the wazoo, especially since trading Norman Powell and Robert Covington to the Clippers in a cost-saving move. Portland is also searching for another star to pair with Lillard after shipping McCollum to the Pelicans. They recently got linked to another notable name as well. LaVine, a native of nearby Seattle, Wash., should be an additional intriguing target for them as they look to reverse this year’s 27-55 finish.

Damian Lillard shares 1 circumstance where he would want trade from Blazers

Damian Lillard in a Blazers jersey

Dec 16, 2019; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Damian Lillard has long maintained that he wants to remain with the Portland Trail Blazers and win a championship. However, the team is a long way from that goal right now, and Lillard has admitted there is a scenario in which he would accept a trade.

In an interview with Jabari Young of CNBC, Lillard maintained his desire to remain with Portland. However, he also said that he would accept a trade if the organization came to him wanting to move him.

“If they came to me and they wanted to trade me — I’m not going to fight them on wanting to trade me,” Lillard said. “I don’t want to be anywhere I’m not wanted. But I don’t think that’s the case.”

Lillard has long been the subject of trade chatter as he hunts for an NBA championship. He’s often cited as a potential superstar who may demand a trade, but he has long suggested otherwise. This is the latest instance of him asserting that he intends to stay with Portland unless they do not want him anymore.

Damian Lillard takes shot at Oklahoma City in interview

Damian Lillard

Three years after waving them bye-bye in the Western Conference playoffs, Damian Lillard still is not too fond of Oklahoma City.

The Portland Trail Blazers guard appeared this week on Draymond Green’s podcast for The Volume and was asked if the notable lack of All-Stars that he has played with in his career had something to do with being in Portland.

“I think part of it is that, but I mean, bruh, people going to Oklahoma City, bruh,” replied Lillard, eliciting thunderous laughter from Green.

Lillard also mentioned Milwaukee as another small town that attracts stars and added that he would not be living in Portland for as long as he has if it was as bad as people say.

In just the last half-decade alone, the Thunder have had many All-Stars on their team such as Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, and Al Horford. But all of those players were either drafted or traded for by the team thanks to the savvy asset-accumulation strategy of GM Sam Presti. Oklahoma City is still not and may never be a free agent destination. But they are able to land stars due to smart management by the front office, which may be what is actually separating them from a team like Portland.

Of course, Lillard’s judgment may be clouded by the fact that he does not care at all for Oklahoma City. The five-time All-Star has continued to diss the Thunder even as recently as last year.

H/T NBA Reddit

Photo: Dec 16, 2019; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Damian Lillard has brutal take on recruiting players to Portland

Damian Lillard

Much has been made of Damian Lillard’s desire to win a championship, and whether he can do that playing in Portland. The star guard brushed aside that chatter in pretty brutal fashion when asked about it.

Lillard appeared on Draymond Green’s podcast “The Draymond Green Show,” and the pair got to discussing how many NBA stars go about playing together. Lillard noted that he has not played with another All-Star since his third season in the league, when he and LaMarcus Aldridge were still teammates with the Trail Blazers.

Green asked Lillard if the Portland guard felt it was difficult to attract stars because of the city he plays in, but Lillard brutally dismissed that narrative.

“I think part of it is that, but I mean, people are going to Oklahoma City, bro,” Lillard said. “No offense, but people are going to Oklahoma City and Milwaukee.”

Fans in Oklahoma City and Milwaukee are not likely to take kindly to this, but Lillard has a point. Neither would be considered a huge media market or a big destination city, but high-profile players have starred in both places. Much of that is down to the draft and trades, but the Thunder did initially get Paul George to re-sign here, and Milwaukee did the same with Jrue Holiday after trading for him.

Whatever the case, Lillard is still hounded by trade rumors. His point about not playing with high-profile teammates is an interesting one, and it makes one wonder if he might be looking to team up with another star in the future.

Photo: Dec 16, 2019; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

NBA executives predict 3 superstars could be next to demand trades

Damian Lillard

NBA superstars trying to force trades is something of a regular feature of the league at this point. Ben Simmons and James Harden did it this year, and speculation is already growing as to who may be next.

Executives around the NBA have already began speculating about which star will try to engineer a move next, according to Howard Beck of SI. Speculation has largely centered around three names: Zion Williamson of the New Orleans Pelicans, Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers, and Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz.

Speculation about Lillard is nothing new. The direction of the Blazers and Lillard’s desire to win a championship have combined to increase trade chatter, and there have even been rumors about where Lillard might want to play. Williamson and Mitchell have not been discussed as much, partly because Williamson has been injured all season.

Mitchell is a good dark horse candidate for a trade demand. There have been multiple reports suggesting that tensions within the Utah locker room are high. That could certainly spark rumors that Mitchell is eyeing a trade, which may intensify in the coming offseason.

Photo: Dec 16, 2019; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Was Joel Embiid’s cryptic message aimed at Damian Lillard?

Joel Embiid holds a basketball

Joel Embiid appears to have activated full Troel Embiid mode once again.

On Tuesday, the Portland Trail Blazers traded star guard CJ McCollum to the New Orleans Pelicans in a big move. The deal came just days after the team traded another top player, Norman Powell, to the LA Clippers.

Shortly after news of the trade broke, the Philadelphia 76ers center Embiid sent a cryptic tweet that read, “Time To Run.”

Many speculated that Embiid was referring to Damian Lillard, who is now apparently stuck in a rebuild in Portland (despite the Blazers’ reported plan to somehow reshape the roster aroud Lillard).

For one, Lillard has used the “run” language before, once taking a shot at an NBA rival for “running from the grind.” Even more notably, Lillard has been linked to Embiid’s 76ers in recent months as a potential trade target.

Granted, Embiid did send a couple of similarly confusing tweets afterwards, potentially to cover his tracks.

We know that the five-time All-Star Embiid loves causing a ruckus during trade rumor season. With his “Time To Run” tweet here, he appears to have done just that once again.

Photo: Nov 27, 2019; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) warms up before action against the Sacramento Kings at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports