Damian Lillard’s ongoing unhappiness with how the Portland Trail Blazers have gone about getting him help is something of an open secret. In fact, the 31-year-old gave a rather sobering analysis of his squad’s ‘failed’ free agency moves up to this point not long ago.
Naturally, this has led to a lot of questions regarding the relationship between Lillard and his partner in crime, C.J. McCollum. As the Blazers’ second-best player, McCollum often finds himself the topic of trade speculation. The lingering belief is that, at some point, Portland will need to deal him to improve the roster around Lillard.
Has this impacted his relationship with Lillard at all?
During a recent appearance on The Old Man and the Three podcast with J.J. Redick and Tommy Alter, McCollum got brutally honest about the current state of his relationship with Lillard.
“Dame could have easily swayed the Blazers away from drafting me,” McCollum said. “First of all, he could’ve been like, ‘nah, we don’t need another major guard. Let’s go for the 6’7 whatever.’ He encouraged it. He basically persuaded them.”
As it turns out, Lillard and McCollum were friends before they ever became teammates.
Jake Paul won twice last night. https://t.co/hwq8OroRtW
— Game 7 (@game7__) August 30, 2021
“We were friends before I was drafted, which made our relationship easier,” he continued. “It wasn’t forced. … He’ll tell you all that time that I’m crazy. He respected my crazy. How I wasn’t afraid to challenge people. How I wasn’t afraid to guard people in practice. I’ll talk trash to him, I’ll talk trash to whoever. I wasn’t trying to be like. I was just being myself and I think he respected that.”
McCollum generally keeps it pretty real. Whether he is calling out the Los Angeles Lakers over ‘manipulation’ or exposing Patrick Beverley’s lies – he tends to tell it how it is. So if he was bothered about his relationship with Lillard, he’d have likely acknowledged it. The pair seems to be fine, which is good news for Blazers fans that are hoping for a happy and harmonious 2021-22 season.