Will The Loyalty Of Damian Lillard Cost Him A Championship?
SALT LAKE CITY – Nobody can question the loyalty of star NBA guard Damian Lillard, but his recent contract extension with Portland has some doubting his ability to win a title.
A former Weber State Wildcat, the six-time All-Star and six-time All-NBA guard recently singed a two-year contract extension that keeps him in Portland through the 2026-27 season. The deal tops out at more than $60 million in the final season of a deal that takes Lillard through his age 35 season.
Signed, sealed and D Lillard.
📸: https://t.co/69AIUzsKDm pic.twitter.com/uTAhvXFepo
— Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) July 10, 2022
At a press conference announcing the extension, Lillard spoke of his pride in fighting through the ups and downs with one team.
“I’ve always said that if I do something that goes against who I am, and say I do end up winning, I know me better than any of y’all know me,” Lillard said. “So I’d be happy with it, because I don’t think anybody wouldn’t be happy being a champion, but it wouldn’t be as fulfilling to me as I would want that moment to be.”
Hans Olsen and Scott Garrard on the Zone Sports Network discussed Lillard and his ability to win a title with the team that once made him the No. 6 pick of the 2012 NBA draft.
“He’s being honest. Damian Lillard is staying true to himself. I wish he could have got to a place that would build and put championship ability around him. He seems like a championship level teammate,” Olsen said of Lillard.
“He doesn’t seem like a selfish individual.”
In a world where the motives of so many are questioned daily, this statement from Olsen perhaps rang as the most important
In a sports landscape where ring chasing is a common topic every free agency and at trade deadines, Lillard is a throwback to an age where players built to a title instead of chasing the best free agency options.
“You appreciate the honesty. You appreciate the loyalty. We just don’t see guys like that anymore,” Garrard said.
“It would be very easy for him to walk into that office and say, ‘trade me’, and they would trade him,” Garrard speculated. “It would be very easy for Damian Lillard to go chase a ring. He knows if he does win ring in Portland, it’s gonna feel far sweeter than if you go chasing two or three different teams to get it.”
Portland added Shaedon Sharpe with the No. 7 pick in the 2022 draft and added Gary Payton II with the mid-level exception. Can they continue to add pieces around Lillard and build that championship team? Time will tell but it sounds like Lillard is in for the long haul.