The Portland Trail Blazers have remained quiet during NBA free agency. It hasn’t sat well with Blazers fans, and it doesn’t seem to be sitting well with superstar Damian Lillard.
The franchise star, who has been open about his frustrations, said the Blazers weren’t able to get some of the players they would have liked in free agency when he discussed his role in recruiting players on Friday with media.
“When you go into free agency and things like this, you never know what happens,” Lillard said during availability at the Tokyo Olympics. “You never know where guys are going to end up and why they go there. You just try to have conversations and convince guys to be a part of our team.
“And obviously, this go around, we wasn’t able to go out there and just get some of the guys that we would have liked, and you go down the list and you go through the guys that are out there that you like who haven’t committed to a team or was a part of your plans in free agency and you get the ones that want to be a part of what you’re doing. And I think that’s what we did.”
While Lillard has been overseas chasing the first Olympic gold medal of his career with Team USA, the Blazers have only added three news players in free agency this summer.
Besides Portland re-signing Norman Powell, they’ve acquired only rotation pieces in Ben McLemore, Cody Zeller, and Tony Snell. Two key players for the Blazers last season in center Enes Kanter and veteran forward Carmelo Anthony departed to Boston and Los Angeles, respectively.
Lillard hasn’t made a clear decision about his future with the Blazers, but he has been upfront about his dissatisfaction with where the team currently sits and would like to see more urgency to build a contending team.
“There’s a lot of positives. But I just think we’ve reached that point where it’s like, OK, it’s not enough,” Lillard said this offseason. “Do we actually want to win it all? Is that what we’re shooting for? And we’ve got to do things to show that. We’ve got to put action behind that desire to win at that level. That’s been my only thing this entire time.
“I think if you look at our team as it is going into next season, I don’t see how you say, ‘Alright, this is a championship team, you just need a new coach, when you lost in the first round to a team that was hurt. So, that’s my thought.”
— Aron Yohannes