Portland Trail Blazers superstar Damian Lillard is becoming impatient with the organization. According to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes, the star point guard is frustrated with how the Blazers handled their coaching vacancy and their inability to build a championship roster around him. These frustrations could reportedly lead to him wanting out of Portland.
The Trail Blazers parted ways with head coach Terry Stotts in early June. Stotts coached the Blazers for the entirety of Lillard’s nine-year NBA career. Portland reached the playoffs in eight of those nine years, and they reached the conference finals in 2019. Unfortunately, Stotts was unable to propel the Blazers to the next level and win a championship.
Lillard himself endorsed Jason Kidd as his choice for the head coaching vacancy. The Blazers’ front office hired Chauncey Billups, and Kidd was named the coach of the Dallas Mavericks a few days ago. Potentially upset with the hire, Lillard’s rumors picked up steam when he posted this cryptic tweet.
“Sometime it’s not the people who change. It’s the mask that falls off.”Damian Lillard
Lack of help
It isn’t easy to decipher what the tweet means. Lillard might be bothered by the Blazers’ front office roster moves or lack thereof, along with the coaching issues. Lillard has been the only all-star in Portland since 2015. In the 2021 playoffs, the Trail Blazers lost in the first round to the Denver Nuggets in six games.
Despite the loss, Lillard was spectacular as he averaged 34.3 points and 10.2 assists on 46% shooting and 44% from three-point range in the series. He scored a playoff career-high 55 points in Game 4 with 12 three-pointers, but the Blazers still lost that game. Clearly, Lillard’s teammates underperformed versus the severely understaffed Nuggets, which led to the disappointing result.
For the Blazers, playoff disappointment has been a common theme in the last handful of seasons. This was their fifth first-round exit in the last eight years. While Lillard has been adamant about his desire to remain in Portland, the constant underachieving of the team must take a toll on him. There is now a lot of pressure on the Blazers organization to keep their superstar happy. Needless to say, dozens of teams will surely be monitoring the situation closely this offseason.
With Damian Lillard likely to request a trade, where are his potential landing spots?