Damian Lillard has always been loyal to the Portland Trail Blazers but the 30-year-old star might be reaching his breaking point.
Lillard reportedly has grown frustrated with the organization for two different reasons, and the factors could ultimately lead the six-time All-NBA honoree “out the door.”
The first of said reasons is in regards to the backlash after the Blazers reportedly hired Chauncey Billups as their head coach. Portland is expected to make the hiring official Tuesday. Lillard, who reportedly had expressed his support in hiring Billups or Jason Kidd a few weeks prior, has been criticized on social media as fans are unhappy with the decision.
Fans were turned off by the Billups hire due to an incident in 1997 in which Billups was alleged of sexual assault. No criminal charges were ever filed, but there was a settlement in a civil lawsuit, according to ESPN.
The 30-year-old star point guard even got into a Twitter altercation with a fan about it.
Yahoo Sports has further indicated that Portland’s inability to build a championship contender around Lillard have also fueled his concerns. That part probably shouldn’t be as shocking, but due to Lillard’s loyalty to Portland in the past, it is a change.
Check it this excerpt from Sunday’s story by Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Haynes:
The enormous backlash from the Portland Trail Blazers’ process to hire a new coach and his concerns on whether a championship contender can be built have become factors that may push the franchise player ? Damian Lillard ? out the door, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Lillard has remained loyal to Portland in large part due to the tremendous fan base. But over the last few days, he?s seen some of those same fans attacking him on social media for a pending coaching hire he played no part in consummating, sources said.
NBA writer Farbod Esnaashari reported Sunday evening how the “growing rift” is among ownership, Lillard and the front office. Esnaashari even noted how Lillard has been in touch with players on other teams this offseason while monitoring Portland’s future.
For what it’s worth, this all comes after Sports Illustrated’s Chris Mannix suggested on WEEI’s ?Tanguay and Hart” radio show recently that Lillard and the Blazers are reaching a “breaking point.” Mannix also noted the Celtics are in “a good position” to potentially swing a trade for the six-time All-Star.
One NBA executive reportedly labeled the Celtics a “team to watch” if the Blazers ultimately shop Lillard, as well.
We’ll have to wait and see what comes next for Lillard, who is slated to earn more than $176 million over the next four seasons, and the Blazers in the weeks to come.