Mannix and Beck dive deep into Damian Lillard’s future in Portland, along with potential business partners that could emerge in the coming weeks, Ime Udoka’s introductory press conference in Boston, USA Basketball roster (and Kevin’s place Love on it), the new Mavericks regime, a shakeup at Utah headquarters and more. Subscribe, rate and review on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you download podcasts!
The following transcript is an excerpt from The NBA Crossover Podcast. Listen to the full episode on podcast players everywhere or in SI.com.
Chris Mannix: Let’s start this discussion with Damian Lillard, which is the big story right now outside of Portland. It’s getting interesting out there. On Sunday the Blazers made the signing of Chauncey Billups official. That came just hours after Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Haynes, who is close to Lillard, reported that the search for a coach, the Blazers roster, as well as the reaction from fans about Lillard’s role in the search for a coach, could push Lillard to ask for a trade. . So Howard, what do you think of the latest developments in Damian Lillard’s ongoing saga?
Howard Beck: So fascinating on several levels, Chris, one of which is this. The Blazers have been out for how many weeks? And in the wake of his season ending, it didn’t make sense that Damian Lillard was ready to start pushing for a trade or start worrying about the future or feeling the need to make a move. Now, you know, losing faith in the organization, even after Terry Stotts was fired, the first thing we heard from Lillard was, “I would love for Jason Kidd to be the coach,” not “I don’t care.” who is the coach because he may not want to be here anyway. “It was not that. So something has changed just in the last few weeks, and we can look at some of the things that have happened in the last few days that maybe have It changed the landscape a bit. But it seems to me that Lillard, if he was really concerned primarily with the Blazers’ ability to surround him, with the kind of talent to win championships, then whatever button he was going to push, whatever was waving behind what to do, and whatever leaked about that could have been weeks ago. I don’t “want Jason Kidd to come train me.” So the fact that he’s doing this now, I think it feels like pretense. , like citing the roster or anything else about the Blazers ability to build around it, it feels like a pretense of something else. And I’m not sure what that is. Maybe just the reaction it’s getting from the fans. d e Blazers on the perception that he had something to do with hiring Chauncey Billups. And we will see why that is controversial. But it seems like any discussion about Lillard is concerned with the Blazers as an organization and their ability to win championships feels like a simulation because he could have made those concerns known weeks ago when he was trying to pick his next coach.
Chris Mannix: Damian Lillard to me is like the guy who tries to break up with his girlfriend for the first time. You know he wants to do it, but he just doesn’t know how to do it. And I’ve had this feeling since the season ended. If you recall, Lillard, who has become an expert on cryptic Instagram posts, had one where he basically said, “How many times do I have to keep doing this and not make it?” I’m going to cut the line from the song you posted there. But it seemed to open the door for change after the season against Denver ended. And you know what? I do not blame him. If the Portland Trailblazers couldn’t beat the zombified Denver Nuggets, who were without Jamal Murray, what makes anyone believe or make Damian Lillard believe that they can beat a top team in the Western Conference over the next two years? He has just handled this very awkwardly. I don’t think we’ve seen the correct way to go about asking for a deal. That Damian Lillard wants out is completely understandable. He’s in his early 30s right now. You’re looking at this Blazers team, which is in a kind of transitional phase in hiring a new coach, and you look at the roster and say, “How, in the next three years, am I going to be able to keep up? championship? ” “Put myself in a position to win a championship?” Because when we look at this Portland team right now, are they better than Utah? No. Are they better than Phoenix? No. Are they better than the Clippers or the Lakers? That doesn’t even mention that some of the teams behind him are really good. Those younger teams that are going to start making noise next season. Look, I think Damian Lillard wants out, and I base it almost entirely on a kind of reading of the signals that Damian Lillard is publicly sending out.
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.