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#pounditMonday, January 30, 2023

Damian Lillard

Damian Lillard fires back at Patrick Beverley’s antics over Twitter

Patrick Beverley smacking his wrist

Patrick Beverley continues to be a god-tier troll.

The Los Angeles Lakers guard Beverley taunted Damian Lillard multiple times during the Lakers’ game against the Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday. As Lillard was about to shoot a free throw in the second quarter, Beverley stepped in front of Lillard to try to get into his head, ultimately getting a technical foul for doing so.

It initially appeared that Beverley had messed with the wrong one. Lillard and the Blazers responded with an absolute heater, going on a 31-8 run to close out the half from the moment of Beverley’s free-throw line taunt. It culminated with a ridiculous Lillard pull-up three to put Portland up 22.

But the Lakers rose from the grave in the third quarter and came all the way back, erasing what was at one point a 25-point deficit to take back the lead by the eight-minute mark of the fourth quarter. They went on to win 121-112.

In the closing seconds of the game, Beverley jabbed at Lillard once again. He mocked Lillard’s famous “Dame Time” celebration in which Lillard points to an imaginary watch on his wrist. Beverley tapped at his own wrist repeatedly to indicate that Lillard’s “Dame Time” watch was broken.

On Monday morning, Lillard fired back at Beverley’s antics in a tweet. Lillard said that Beverley, who hyped up his defensive performance on Lillard in a postgame press conference, was a “con man.” He also likened Beverley to Flip, a homeless drug addict played by Bernie Mac in the 1994 basketball movie “Above The Rim.”

Beverley offered an apparent response of his own roughly an hour later, tweeting of Lillard, “He mad. Entertaining.”

Lillard, though he finished with 24 points and ten assists, shot just 5-for-17 overall in the game. Beverley, who was Lillard’s primary defender, did not do much in the box score but was a game-high +27.

The feud between Lillard and Beverley is a long-running one though. Lillard was already calling out Beverley back when Beverley still played in Houston. The two guards also had a memorable beef during the 2020 Orlando bubble.

Damian Lillard psyched out Deandre Ayton at end of game

Damian Lillard talks to Deandre Ayton

The Portland Trail Blazers hung on to defeat the Phoenix Suns 113-111 in overtime on Friday night. The biggest play of the night wasn’t necessarily a play at all. Rather, it was Damian Lillard getting into the head of Deandre Ayton with just 1.2 seconds remaining.

Ayton stepped to the foul line with the opportunity to send the game into a second overtime. With nothing he could do to physically play defense on the court, Lillard started talking.

“I just asked him, ‘have you ever been in this situation before?’ I wanted him to think about it a little bit. And then when he ignored me, I felt like he was thinking about it,” Lillard said after the game, via Sean Highkin.

But that wasn’t all Lillard had to say in the moment.

As Ayton readied his first free throw, Lillard stepped up alongside him and asked, “You think they trust you with the game on the line?”

Lillard answer the question himself: “Hell nah.”

Ayton, who put up 26 points and recorded a game-changing block earlier in the night, fell flat. His first attempt bricked off the rim and the second attempt shared a similar result.

Jock Landale was able to grab the rebound and put up one final layup for the tie, but it rolled off the front of the hoop as the buzzer sounded. And as Lillard predicted, Ayton wasn’t able to get it done in the big moment, giving Portland the win.

Video: Damian Lillard had hilarious gaffe while driving

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

Other than being a superstar athlete with a $270 million contract, Damian Lillard is just like the rest of us.

The Portland Trail Blazers star Lillard went viral for a funny blunder he had while driving this week. Lillard was heading up the road when he suddenly got out of his ride while stopped in traffic. It turns out that he forgot his to-go container of food on the roof of the vehicle.

Here is the video, which was first posted by Lillard’s wife Kay’la to TikTok.

What is by far the most impressive is that the food somehow managed to stay on the roof for the whole time that Lillard was driving (however long that was). That to-go box clearly has ice in its veins just like Lillard does.

The six-time All-Star Lillard walked away from the goof with his entire meal intact. But we know of another NBA star who probably wouldn’t have been quite as lucky.

Damian Lillard had funny response to Blazers’ Summer League title

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

The Portland Trail Blazers claimed the NBA Summer League title on Sunday. While that does not necessarily serve as much of a predictor for the future, it’s a cool accomplishment for the typically younger fringe players who take part in the competition.

That said, the league is not always a big focus among the league’s veteran players. Take Damian Lillard, for example. The Blazers’ franchise guard only found out about Portland’s win because he was with teammate Anfernee Simons, who got a FaceTime call from Trendon Watford in the winning locker room. Note that the video includes some NSFW language.

“Oh, y’all won it? They won it? Oh s–t!” Lillard laughed.

To be clear, Lillard sounds genuinely pleased to hear the news, and even jokes that he and Simons were celebrating the championship by the pool. Still, it’s pretty funny that this is how he found out.

Lillard might as well be happy about the news. He has committed himself long-term to the organization and wants to win a title there, so any hint of optimism for the future has to be welcomed.

Damian Lillard makes significant commitment to 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

Loyalty may have an expiration date, but Damian Lillard’s loyalty certainly does not.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reports Friday that Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers have agreed to a two-year maximum contract extension worth an estimated $120 million. The new deal will take Lillard’s contract through the 2026-27 season for a total of five years and nearly $270 million. That makes Lillard one of the highest earners in NBA history, Charania notes.

Lillard, who will turn 32 later this month, had three years remaining on his existing contract and could have become a free agent in 2025. But with this latest agreement, Lillard is signed until the age of 37, all but ensuring that he remains with the Blazers for his entire NBA career.

The six-time All-Star Lillard had recently faced rumors of uncertainty over his future in Portland, particularly because of his alleged relationship with franchise owner Jody Allen. But Lillard appears to have sent those rumors to the canvas with this latest commitment to the Blazers.

Damian Lillard responds to report that Blazers owner snubbed him

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

If Damian Lillard and Portland Trail Blazers owner Jody Allen are having issues, the star point guard is not about to admit it publicly.

The New York Post reported on Thursday that Lillard is unhappy with the direction of the Trail Blazers. He supposedly tried to arrange a meeting with Allen to discuss his concerns, but Allen never returned his call. Lillard then tried to email Allen and she redirected him to another Blazers executive, according to the report.

On Friday, Lillard told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports that he has a “great relationship” with Allen and Portland’s front office. The six-time All-Star called the New York Post report a “non-story.”

There was also a claim in the New York Post story that “toxic” behavior from Allen has had a negative impact on the Blazers’ management. Some recent rumblings indicated the Blazers might be for sale and that there is a notable prospective buyer, but Allen denied that.

Lillard is the face of the Blazers. There has been speculation that he is frustrated with the franchise and may request a trade. Lillard recently sparked concern among Portland fans with a cryptic social media post. The New York Post story then added to the uneasiness, which is likely why Lillard felt the need to address it.

Damian Lillard at odds with Blazers owner?

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

Portland appears to be giving off the warm aroma of trouble right now.

The New York Post reported on Thursday that Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard is not seeing eye-to-eye with franchise owner Jody Allen. Citing a team source, the report states that Allen has refused to speak with Lillard, who is allegedly having issues with the way the team is being run.

“Damian wanted to sit down and have a conversation with Jody about the team and she didn’t return his call,” the source was quoted as saying. “Then he tried to email her. Eventually she just never responded and put him in touch with [Trail Blazers executive] Bert [Kolde].”

The Blazers were purchased by billionaire Paul Allen in 1988. Since Paul died in 2018, the franchise has been owned by a trust in Paul’s name. Jody, Paul’s sister, is chairperson of that trust and has become the de facto owner of the Blazers.

The New York Post report also alleges further “toxic” behavior on the part of Jody that is affecting the management of the Blazers. Among the claims is that Jody has allegedly deferred all the decision-making for the team to Kolde, who serves as vice chair of the Blazers and was Paul’s college roommate and friend. You can read the report in full here.

There was some recent rumors that the Blazers might be for sale, and a notable name was even reported to have interest in purchasing the team. But Jody just released a statement saying that the Blazers (along with the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, whom The Paul G. Allen Trust also owns) are not currently for sale (though they eventually will be according to Paul’s wishes).

As for Lillard, he is the undisputed face of the Blazers team and a persistent symbol of loyalty, having spent his entire ten-year NBA career in Portland. But he recently caused big concern among Blazers fans with a cryptic social media post, and now it turns out that frustration with Jody Allen may have something to do with it.

Damian Lillard shares intriguing message in cryptic post

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’s status with the Portland Trail Blazers remains something of a curiosity, with many questioning his long-term commitment if the organization is not a contender. Whether he meant to or not, Lillard added fuel to that fire with his social media activity on Saturday.

Lillard posted a video to his Instagram story that included a message that read “loyalty has an expiration date.” Lillard himself endorsed the sentiment as a “hard truth” in his caption.

It would be easy to read this as Lillard warning the Blazers that at a certain point he will have to consider whether Portland is where he is best positioned to win a championship. That message may even take on an added layer considering Lillard’s recent recruitment of one of the league’s biggest stars.

As has been the case all along, Lillard seems to want to win a title in Portland. He has frequently sent the message, however, that he needs to see the organization make the moves to make that possible. They added Jerami Grant in a trade with Detroit earlier in the offseason, but some reports suggest Lillard is still in wait-and-see mode when it comes to contract talks. This message certainly fits with that line of thinking.

Report: Damian Lillard contract extension not a ‘sure thing’

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

The Portland Trail Blazers reportedly want to sign Damian Lillard to an extension beyond his current contract, but Lillard’s agreement is far from guaranteed.

On Wednesday, Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer reported that the Trail Blazers want to offer Lillard a two-year extension worth over $100 million. The deal would keep Lillard, who is under contract with Portland for two more seasons, through the 2026-2027 season.

The Athletic’s Sam Amick reported Friday that Lillard’s widely-assumed decision to accept the offer is far from a “sure thing.” According to Amick, the Trail Blazers “still needed to have a strong offseason” in order to convince Lillard to sign the extension that would keep him in Portland until the age of 36.

Lillard and the Blazers haven’t always seen eye-to-eye during the six-time All-Star’s 10 seasons with the team, but Lillard seems committed to remaining with Portland.

Portland has already gotten off to a good start this offseason with improving their roster. The Blazers traded for Jerami Grant from the Detroit Pistons prior to the 2022 NBA Draft. This week, the team signed former Golden State Warriors guard-forward Gary Payton II to a three-year, $28 million deal. Portland also re-signed guard Anfernee Simmons to a four-year, $100 million deal, and center Jusuf Nurkic to a four-year, $70 million contract. Nurkic averaged 15.0 points and 11.1 rebounds in 56 games last season. Simmons averaged 17.3 points in 57 games, and shot 44.3 percent from the field.

H/T Bleacher Report

Report: Blazers to offer Damian Lillard big extension

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 been the subject of trade rumors in recent years, but the Portland Trail Blazers are doing what they can to reaffirm their commitment the six-time All-Star.

Lillard is under contract with Portland for two more seasons with a player option for a third. According to Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, the team wants to extend Lillard’s deal further and is planning to offer him a two-year extension that will exceed $100 million.

Lillard, 31, has a player option for 2024-25 that is worth $48 million. A two year extension that exceeds $100 million would constitute a raise.

The Blazers made a big move to acquire Jerami Grant from the Detroit Pistons leading up to the draft. They may be pursuing another significant trade as well.

Lillard has spent his entire career in Portland. There have been numerous reports over the years about him being frustrated with the direction of the franchise. Unlike so many other star players in tough situations, he has not requested a trade. The Blazers seem determined to have it stay that way.