However, the organization’s front office tried to put those rumors to bed on Tuesday.
In a press conference introducing Chauncey Billups as the franchise’s new head coach, Blazers general manager Neil Olshey addressed the recent speculation that his star point guard might request a trade. When asked about Chris Haynes’ weekend report, the Portland executive laughed before reiterating that Lillard is committing to win with the team that drafted him.
“Dame and I talk all the time. Dame’s happiness always revolves around winning. The ultimate responsibility behind that falls on me and my staff to put a team together,” Olshey said, according to Sean Highkin of Bleacher Report.
“Every indication is that Dame doesn’t want to leave Portland. He wants to retire a Trail Blazer. He’s expressed that to the stakeholders.”
More Olshey: "Every indication is that Dame doesn't want to leave Portland. He wants to retire a Trail Blazer. He's expressed that to the stakeholders."
— Sean Highkin (@highkin) June 29, 2021
Olshey’s reponse is expected given the circumstances. No Blazers executive was going to give legs to any rumor involving Lillard, especially one that suggested he might force his way out.
However, Haynes has long been a reliable source on information surrounding the six-time All-NBA point guard. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst also reportedly heard that Lillard is frustrated with the circumstances surrounding Billups’ hiring and the team’s recent roster moves, but doesn’t believe that the situation in Portland has reached a breaking point.
“From conversations that I have had in Dame’s orbit, I have heard the same things,” Windhorst said of Haynes’ recent report about the Blazers star. “I don’t believe, based on my conversations, that Dame is serious, at this point, about saying he wants out. But I do think that he was put in a very uncomfortable position, partially because of his own making.”
Based on both reports, Lillard’s partial frustration with the Blazers seems to be real. However, Olshey and the front office seem to think that those concerns can be remedied with roster moves made this offseason.
Now that the Blazers have locked down their coach, they can turn their focus to the draft and free agency.