Damian Lillard breaks silence, responds to trade speculation


Would Damian Lillard really consider leaving the only NBA team he's played for? The Portland Trail Blazers star cleared the air about some recent trade speculation -- but he didn't exactly squash it, either.

Following a report from Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes that Lillard may request a trade amid concerns about the Blazers' ability to compete for a championship, the All-Star guard was asked Thursday if he's seriously pondering his future in Portland.

"Anything that I have to say, I'm going to say directly to [Blazers general manager] Neil [Olshey] and I'm going to address it directly with my team," Lillard after a Team USA practice in Las Vegas, via ESPN.com. "There's really nothing else I have to say about it."

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Lillard also faced backlash from fans for supporting Chauncey Billups' head candidacy in Portland. After Billups landed the job, details resurfaced surrounding his involvement in 1997 sexual assault allegations. That backlash weighed on Lillard as well, according to Haynes, but the 30-year-old seemed to take issue with his feelings being made public.

"There's a lot of things being said and sometimes words being put in my mouth, and I haven't said anything," Lillard said. "If there is something to be said or if I think something or have something to say that I'm going to say it and I'm going to stand on it."

Lillard has remained fiercely loyal to the Blazers over nine NBA seasons. Portland's disappointing first-round playoff exit against the Denver Nuggets was a tough blow, though, and the loss convinced him to join Team USA in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

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"The fact that the season wasn't extended for me ... leaving a sour taste in my mouth after losing so early to a team that was beat up and injured when I expected to win that series, it gave me that itch to jump back in and play and have that chance to win," Lillard said, via NBC Sports Northwest.

Celtics star Jayson Tatum reportedly played a role in Lillard's decision to play in the Olympics, and some believe Lillard could be a great fit in Boston following Kemba Walker's departure.

If Lillard was set on staying in Portland this offseason, he likely would have made that clear, so his comments certainly leave the door open for one of the game's best point guards to be on the move this summer.

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