By STEVEN VAUGHAN, 750 THE GAME
When Damian Lillard speaks, Trail Blazers fans listen.
Lillard was candid on Sunday while speaking at his end-of-season press conference.
The Blazers star guard, now 32, says he doesn’t have time to wait for another young prospect to develop into potential stardom in order to compete for a championship.
“I don’t have much of an appetite for building (with) guys two or three years away from really going after it,” he said on Sunday, singling out last year’s No. 7 overall pick in the draft. “We get Shaedon Sharpe at 19 (years old) and he’s different. Just being around him, his disposition, how he listens, his frame, his natural talent, and his ability. You know. That’s enough 19-year-olds.”
Lillard has voiced his opinion to Blazers leadership over the years, but John Canzano wonders if Lillard has done enough to put pressure on the organization to deliver results.
“Is he upset enough to leverage his popularity?” Canzano asked Monday on 750 The Game. “I don’t hear him saying ‘If they don’t make moves I want out.’ I don’t hear him saying, ‘I’m losing patience and if they don’t get another star player here I’m done.’ I don’t hear him saying that yet.”
Lillard hasn’t attractive top free agents over the years. Canzano wondered if Lillard’s playing style as a ball-dominant guard may factor into whether or not another star player would want to join him in Portland.
“I can’t say that definitively,” Canzano said. “Portland has had a long-time free-agent summer problem. Brian Grant was the last high-level free agent – who had options – who chose Portland.”
Lillard has not, and may never, explicitly ask out of Portland if he does not get another star to pursue a title. But it is worth wondering if his opinion is actually being heard by the executives who work at One Center Court.
Maybe, just maybe, this summer will be different.
Listen to the segment on Lillard at the 12:53 mark of the podcast. And catch the Bald Faced Truth with John Canzano weekdays 3-6 pm exclusively in Portland on 750 The Game.