Hours before this summer’s free agency kicks off, the Portland Trail Blazers work towards locking down superstar Damian Lillard for years to come.
In an era of basketball where superstars frequently force their way off their teams in search of bigger markets and more opportunities, this comes as particularly uplifting news. This new deal involves a four-year extension at a total of $196 million, or an average of $49 million per year.
As a reminder, Lillard still has two years remaining on his current deal, making $29.8 million and $31.6 in each season respectively. This serves as a huge raise and incentive for all the hard work Lillard has poured into the franchise thus far.
This deal will soon make Lillard one of the highest paid players in the NBA and keep him locked in with the Blazers until the conclusion of the 2024-25 season at the very least. This level of commitment to a franchise is largely unheard of in the cutthroat business world of the NBA.
An added bonus of the timing of this deal is the length of the extension. By agreeing to terms this offseason instead of waiting until next summer, the extension will run one year shorter. Negotiating this contract one earlier provides Lillard with an extra layer of security while also removing the possibility of paying 35-year-old Lillard north of $50 million. By all accounts, this looks to be a win-win situation for both parties involved.
The long-term agreement that is nearing its final stages before the ink is signed on the dotted line is also rumored to include an option at the conclusion of the deal. However, the likelihood that Lillard opts out of a huge payday at that age is next to zero.
Let’s all take a moment to cherish that one of the best players in Portland Trail Blazers’ franchise history is willing to spend the entirety of his career with the same team in the same vein as NBA legends Dirk Nowitzki, Tim Duncan and Kobe Bryant.