Teams around the NBA are keeping an eye on Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers.
I mean, duh?
With the Portland Trail Blazers getting bounced from the first round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs by a Jamal Murray-less Denver Nuggets team, head coach Terry Stotts mutually agreeing to part ways with the team and Damian Lillard posting cryptic messages on his Instagram, it’s only natural teams around the league would be keeping an eye on their situation.
According to The Athletic’s Jason Quick and Shams Charania, that is indeed the case, putting pressure on general manager Neil Olshey and the front office to nail their upcoming head coaching hire and also make some major offseason moves to get Lillard the help he clearly needs in Rip City.
NBA teams are monitoring Damian Lillard’s situation
After a career year last season, Lillard followed up with another All-NBA caliber year in 2020-21, posting 28.8 points, 7.5 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game while making 39.1 percent of his career-high 10.5 3-point attempts per game. He carried Portland to a 42-30 record and the 6-seed in the Western Conference despite CJ McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic missing significant time due to injuries.
Unfortunately, the return of his guys and the start of the playoffs didn’t ease his burden against the shorthanded Nuggets. Despite averaging a whopping 34.4 points, 10.2 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game on scorching .463/.449/.940 shooting splits in the playoffs, the Blazers were eliminated by Denver on their home floor in Game 6, while Dame didn’t get much help from his supporting cast on a night-to-night basis throughout the first-round series.
The Blazers’ two main coaching candidates — Jason Kidd and Chauncey Billups — are both options that Lillard reportedly likes, but the pressure is on the front office to make significant changes if they want to prevent one of the NBA‘s most lethal scorers from finally requesting a trade. Lillard has always been patient and loyal to the Blazers franchise, but if Rip City isn’t proactive this offseason, that could change very soon after yet another short playoff run.