Damian Lillard has repeatedly said he will not leave the Portland Trail Blazers and that he would ‘never’ leave and join a super team. Yet there are some like ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith who has tried to get Lillard to leave Portland, and in Smith’s case, join the Knicks.
“Portland, I’m sorry, I apologize, but I wish he were in another market,” Smith said in March. “It’s not about you! You’re a great fan base! It’s about us. It’s about basketball fans outside of Portland, Oregon. We’re being robbed of seeing Damian Lillard’s brilliance every single night. He’d be a starter in the All-Star game if he played in a big market, you know. Dame needs to be in a big market, like my Knicks.”
The soon-to-be 31-year-old point guard reiterated his desire to win a championship and with the Blazers.
“Like, I can’t express my desire and how bad I want to win it, “Lillard told The Athletic’s Jason Quick. “I want that more than anything. Not just to say, I won a championship. But I want to do it in this city. I want to have a parade on Broadway and ride past El Gaucho (steakhouse). That’s what I think of. Every time the playoffs is starting, I’m going into it like, ‘Is this going to be the year that we shock the world, or that we come up big?'”
Perhaps this will get some to stop wondering if Lillard wants to leave the Trail Blazers. Perhaps this will get some to stop wondering if Lillard has the desire to and wants to win a championship with Portland. Of course, there will be those like Smith who will want to see Lillard in a bigger market and wonder and question if Lillard wants to take “Dame Time” elsewhere.
The Blazers and Lillard’s run for the championship begins Saturday in Denver. Game time TBD.