While numerous NBA teams were loading up on talent and reshuffling their rosters over the past week, the Portland Trail Blazers stayed roughly intact from where they were a year ago.
Aside from reaching a five-year, $90 million agreement with Norman Powell, Neil Olshey’s front office has been stunningly quiet. And while Powell is a nice player, averaging 17.0 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.3 steals per game in Portland after coming over in the Gary Trent Jr. trade with the Toronto Raptors, he’s hardly a star.
In fact, an argument can be made that thus far the Blazers’ offseason is far more defined by who they’ve lost than who they’ve added.
Lillard made something of an ultimatum to the Blazers earlier this year, and up to this point the organization has yet to do anything substantive about it.
This week, Lillard gave his honest thoughts on his team’s unimpressive free agency thus far.
“When you go into free agency and things like this, you never know what happens,” Lillard said, per NBA insider Chris Sheridan. “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.”
The Bucks owner’s daughter decided to bring 2021 in with a bang by stripping all her clothes off. https://t.co/UgzhEEna4o
— Game 7 (@game7__) January 7, 2021
It’s not hard to read between the lines there. The Blazers failed to get Lillard any legitimate help whatsoever.
There are currently 4 teams calling Portland about possibly acquiring Lillard. If the Blazers continue to flail aimlessly in their pursuit of putting talent around their star player, then they will slowly have to come around to the reality that he’s going to want out. And if he starts demanding out in a more public fashion, it will destroy whatever bargaining power they currently have. In that scenario, it’s a far better move to trade him now than later.
This is shaping up to be a crucial next few months for the Blazers. What happens here will impact the franchise for many years to come.