All-Star point guard Damian Lillard looked to tamp down any lingering chatter that he wants to leave the Portland Trail Blazers, telling reporters he loves the only NBA team he has ever played for.

“I’m not unhappy,” Lillard said Sunday, according to The Oregonian. “I love where I live. I love the organization. I love our coaching staff. I love where I am.”

Lillard, who remains under contract for the next three seasons, spoke for the first time since the Trail Blazers’ free-agency haul netted Seth Curry and Nik Stauskas but also included the loss of Lillard’s good friend Ed Davis.

Even though the moves weren’t as splashy as others around the Western Conference, Lillard still believes Portland can contend in the postseason.

“As far as where we fit in [the playoff picture], y’all know how I bring [it],” Lillard said. “I’m going to get us in there, and that’s how it’s going to go.”

He did acknowledge his disappointment at Davis’ exit. Lillard had pushed for the Blazers to re-sign the big man, but Davis signed a one-year, $4.4 million deal with the Brooklyn Nets. Portland also did not retain backup guards Shabazz Napier and Pat Connaughton.

“I loved Ed,” Lillard said. “One of my best friends in the league [and] favorite teammates I’ve played with. To lose him, that’s a loss for our team. Bazz played big minutes for us. Pat played big minutes for us. So we lose three rotation players that gave us a lot, that contributed to our season last year.”

Lillard said the addition of LeBron James to the Los Angeles Lakers, along with improving West teams like the Denver Nuggets, Utah Jazz and Minnesota Timberwolves, will make it tough for the Blazers to repeat their regular-season success of 2017-18, when they finished 49-33 and had the No. 3 seed in the conference.

“It’s the Western Conference. It’s always going to be tough,” Lillard said. “Now you’ve got LeBron coming over here, you’ve got Denver getting a little bit better, Utah getting a little bit better. And it’s just going to get tougher and tougher. It is what’s it’s always been, but just a little tougher.”



Source link

LEAVE A REPLY