Lillard rules out Trail Blazers exit following talks with Billups
Damian Lillard isn't going anywhere.
After a dramatic offseason in which he flirted with the idea of leaving the Portland Trail Blazers, Lillard says discussions with new head coach Chauncey Billups have convinced him to fully recommit to the only franchise he has played for.
"I think a big part of (my change in mindset) was me and Chauncey's conversations, and where we see things the same," Lillard told Jason Quick of The Athletic.
He added, "Watching a game, observing people ... there's not many people who see what I see. But a lot of what I see, he sees. So that was very important to me. Like, that was a big deal."
Reports emerged over the summer suggesting Lillard was considering requesting a trade after the Trail Blazers were eliminated by the Denver Nuggets in the playoffs' first round. Lillard rebuffed those rumors but candidly remarked that he didn't consider the roster ready to compete for a title.
However, the 31-year-old is now entirely dedicated to Portland and to Billups, who will be making his NBA head coaching debut after spending last season as an assistant with the Los Angeles Clippers.
"I don't expect all times to be great times. Adversity is going to hit. There's going to be some tough times," Lillard said. "So if (this season) starts off rocky, or if it starts off in a struggle, I wouldn't be happy about it. Nobody would. But I'm not going to jump ship or bail out when that happens.
"So, I mean, (leaving Portland) is the easy thing and popular thing to say, but it's not going to happen."
Lillard is entering his 10th season with the Trail Blazers after they drafted him sixth overall in 2012. The six-time All-Star's 16,815 career points rank second in franchise history, behind only club legend Clyde Drexler's 18,040.