Damian Lillard Gets Real on Blazers Future: This Is The Most Important Offseason Of My Career


Damian Lillard told Stephen A. Smith he is not threatening the Trail Blazers, but if something significant is not done this summer to position the team to contend, then he will have to make a decision about his future.

The seven-time All-Star talked to Smith on his simulcast during the third quarter of the Bulls-Raptors Eastern Conference play-in game.

“They know how important it is to be on a competitive team, on a level where we can make a run in the playoffs,” Lillard said. “That just has to happen. And I think we all know that.”

To Stephen A.’s credit, he asked the follow-up question many in Rip City wanted to hear.

“Is that your way of saying the Portland Trail Blazers are on the clock? They’ve got to show a level of urgency, or else?” asked Smith.

“It ain’t a threat,” Lillard responded. “I’m not going to say I’m putting them on the clock. I’m just saying if those things can’t be done, if we can’t do something significant like that, then we won’t have a chance to compete on that level.

“And then not only will I have a decision to make, but I think the organization will, too. Because at that point, it’s like, are you going to go young or are we going to get something done? I just think we have to be honest with fully committing to either one.

“We’re at that point in time where everybody wants to win, and they believe that I deserve that opportunity, and I’m trusting that we’re going to be committed and diligent about doing all of those things this offseason. So we’ll see.”

Stephen A. followed up again, clarifying with Lillard that he wants the team to act this offseason, and not make this a conversation to be had again in the 2023-24 season or next summer.

Lillard affirmed that attitude.

“This is our most important offseason since I’ve been there,” he said. “For both myself and the organization.”

Lillard also talked about what being loyal to Portland really means, and how long he thinks he can still play at the level he did this past season.

Watch the clip with Lillard and Stephen A. below, and don’t miss John Canzano’s reaction on The Bald Faced Truth afternoons 3-6 p.m. exclusively in Portland on 750 The Game.