By 750 THE GAME STAFF
Damian Lillard made a number of headlines this week when he joined the ShowTime podcast “The Last Stand with Brian Custer.”
Lillard reiterated his desire to win with the Trail Blazers first and foremost, and that he believes the team has the assets to construct a contending roster this offseason.
He also said if he were to get traded, the Miami Heat was an obvious top choice for him, with Brooklyn as another desirable situation.
Custer began to wrap his conversation with Lillard by asking him a simple question: When the 2023-24 season tips off on Oct. 24th, do you think you will be in Portland?
“I do,” Lillard answered.
Breathe easy, Blazers fans.
Now, Lillard knows what he’s doing. There is no upside for him to answer that question any other way. Were he to say “I’m not sure,” that only invites more public speculation, and could complicate any trade discussions Joe Cronin could already be having behind the scenes.
Portland holds the No. 3 overall pick in the upcoming NBA Draft on June 22nd. If Dame thinks he will still be with the organization by the start of next season, is that a tell on what the Blazers are planning to do come draft night?
The oft-mocked Scoot Henderson selection for Portland at number three makes a lot of basketball sense but is hardly congruent with Lillard’s timeline and desire to contend right away.
Could Henderson be the pick on draft night, and the Blazers still keep Lillard and try to convince him the immediate impact of the 19-year-old guard is greater than he may think?
Possibly. Any path for Portland to build a winning roster right now seems daunting.
THE TRAIL BLAZERS CANNOT AFFORD TO PASS ON SCOOT HENDERSON