Going into the 2021-22 NBA season, the Portland Trail Blazers were a bit of a mess. Damian Lillard’s future with the team was uncertain and some thought that the hiring of head coach Chauncey Billups was a bit questionable. Well, halfway through the year, everything’s going a lot worse than they could have imagined.
They’ve fired their GM, Neil Olshey, reports have come out of a rift forming between Billups and the team, and now Lillard is set to miss extended time with an injury.
On top of all of that, the Blazers are 18-25 and it’s looking like they’ll be fighting to make the play-in tournament.
For a team that came into the year committed to building around Lillard, barely being in the play-in race is definitely concerning. Everything points to them wanting to build around Lillard still, but at one point should they decide that they need to move on?
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Lillard is an amazing player and was just recently named one of the 75 greatest NBA players to ever play the game. But despite making the playoffs every season outside of his rookie year, the furthest a Lillard-led team has ever gone is getting swept in the Western Conference Finals.
Maybe it’s time for the Blazers to move on. Lillard says he’s still committed to Portland, but maybe Portland needs to free him (even though he seems very happy there).
Trading Lillard would be the first step in a (clearly) much-needed rebuild, and there’s one player out there who could help them kickstart that.