Report: Damian Lillard Will "Forgo Paychecks" to Leave Portland

Published July 27, 2021 at 6:08 PM

If you're a Portland Trail Blazers fan, you might want to sit down.

A new report from Henry Abbot at TrueHoop says that Damian Lillard was openly talking about his desire to leave the Blazers while at training came for Team USA only weeks ago. While he didn't make a definitive choice during the Las Vegas camp, it sounds like he was really kicking around the idea of ditching Portland for a team that can actually win a title.

It sounds pretty bleak:

Sources say he told his national team friends that he thought the situation in Portland was getting worse. The next day was his birthday; he would turn 31. He told the group that he had meetings with his team coming up the day after that, and he was thinking about demanding a trade. He put percentages on it—75/25—which confused people. What did that mean? It meant he would listen to the team's plans, and if he didn't like what he heard, he would demand a trade. He estimated he was 25 percent likely to demand a trade that Friday. Whatever the number, some in the room tell TrueHoop they took it as the beginning of the end for Lillard and the Blazers.

But it gets worse. Apparently, Lillard is so unhappy with the direction of the team that he is talking about taking a massive pay cut in order to move to a team with championship potential.

Sources say Damian Lillard is willing to forgo paychecks to get to a title team, if it comes to that. He doesn't have LeBron's reported billion in the bank, but his agent Aaron Goodwin has monetized Lillard's combination of electric game-winners and a lack of controversy. Lillard is one of the NBA's biggest off-court earners, with multimillion dollar deals with Adidas, BioFreeze, and others. Before his contract extension, Lillard has made almost $300 million.

Is it really that bad? This report is based on sources from a few weeks ago so there is a chance that maybe Lillard has had a change of heart and has warmed to the idea of staying in Portland. After all, he did publicly shoot down rumors of him being traded.

But if Abbott's sources are to be believed it's looking very, very bad in Portland. At this point, Portland is going to have to pull off one heck of a magic trick to keep their star player much longer.
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