Damian Lillard should have made his way out of Portland – .

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Damian Lillard should have made his way out of Portland – .


Maybe Lady should have explored other options during the last offseason.

Maybe Lady should have explored other options during the last offseason.
Image: Getty Images

The hindsight is 20/20. But even then, sometimes people just don’t want to see what’s right in front of them.

On Sunday night, the Portland Trail Blazers fell to 6-8 after dropping 29 points to the Denver Nuggets, without the services of Damian Lillard with an abdominal injury.

Getting off to a slow start under the guidance of a rookie head coach – Chauncey Billups – isn’t the issue here, nor is Lillard being held back as a precaution. The loss of 29 points is not a huge anomaly either. It’s the NBA – breakouts happen. However, when you put it all together and add the fact that the Trail Blazers front office is a complete mess, it starts to become clear that maybe this isn’t the franchise that Lillard should have committed to.

“I’m not leaving Portland,” Lillard told reporters last month. “Adversity is going to strike, there are going to be tough times. So if it starts off hard or if it starts out as a struggle, I won’t be happy, no one will. But I’m not going to get off the ship and refloat when that happens.

It has been an interesting year for Lillard.

First, Portland lost in the first round of the playoffs last season to the Nuggets despite averaging 34.3 points, 10.2 assists and 4.3 rebounds per game. It was also the series in which Lillard had 55 points, 10 assists and six rebounds while shooting 17 of 24 from the field and 12 of 17 of three in a Game 5 double overtime victory in Denver.

Second, Lillard got caught in the franchise’s decision to hire Billups, whose past rape allegations emerged in the process. The team did a very poor job of handling this situation, did not allow Billups to answer questions about it during their introductory press conference, and according to reports, did not contact his accuser.

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Third, Lillard won a gold medal at the Olympics in a team that was one of the most forgettable teams we’ve sent to the Games since the pros were allowed to compete, considering the games the team lost in exhibitions and in pool matches.

Finally, following the racist and misogynistic allegations against Suns owner Robert Sarver earlier this month, Portland launched an investigation into the president of basketball operations and general manager Neil Olshey, which would have created a toxic work environment full of intimidation and intimidation. Since, team president Chris McGowan has resigned, because players are being interviewed as part of the survey.

Oh yeah, and while this is all going on, Lillard is having his worst scoring season since his rookie year. His 20 points per game on average hasn’t been that low since playing 19 games as a rookie and 20.7 in his second season.

“I have the impression that the way the match is refereed is unacceptable” Lillard said last week. Due to new rule changes, several stars are not happy with the refereeing because it affected the way they reach the free throw line. “I don’t want to go too far, so they make a big deal out of it, but the explanations, the missing stuff, I mean, come on. I wanted to go in, the rule change wouldn’t affect me, because I don’t go around the referees, I don’t go around the games, and that’s just unacceptable. So the explanations and feedback when you tell them it’s like [Lillard shrugs]. I don’t even have anything else to say about it.

Earlier this month, Lillard spoke publicly about a reunion he had with LeBron James and Anthony Davis over the summer as they discussed what it might “look like” if they played together. In the end, nothing came of it. The Lakers got Russell Westbrook and Lillard chose to stay in Portland.

Well, that was then and it is now. And right now, Lillard is the face of a franchise that seems to have a corrupt front office, because of the men in charge who also hired a coach who won’t talk about his past.

Kevin Garnett once said: “loyalty is something that hurts you sometimes because you cannot get youth back. Damian Lillard is 31, in his ninth season, three years from his team’s peak of success under his reign – getting swept up in the Western Conference final. We may never know if he’s happy where he is or if he regrets not forcing a trade in Portland. But, what we do know is that everything points to his current situation not being the place that can get him to where he ultimately wants to be.



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