Lillard has drawn the ire of Trail Blazers fans who accuse him of pulling the strings in the team’s search for a new head coach, even though he reportedly “played no part” in the hiring process. On Saturday, Dame addressed accusations that he was somehow to blame for Portland potentially overlooking a sexual assault lawsuit settlement involving Chauncey Billups over two decades ago.
Billups was offered the Blazers’ head coaching gig on Friday, and the two sides have been working to finalize a long-term deal, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports. According to Haynes, none of the candidates who were interviewed were suggested by Lillard.
Another issue that could force Lillard out is concerns that the Trail Blazers are incapable of building a championship contender around him. Portland has made it to the playoffs eight consecutive seasons, but five of those appearances ended in a first round elimination. With former coach Terry Stotts gone, Blazers brass have indicated that a different head coach could lead to a change of fortunes, but Lillard could see his supporting cast as the reason for their early postseason demise. Dame averaged 34.3 points and 10.2 assists against a depleted Nuggets roster, and Portland was still bounced in six games.
Back in 2017, Lillard told a Twitter user that if the Trail Blazers no longer wanted him, he would sign with the Utah Jazz or Los Angeles Lakers.
Four years later, Dame has either soured on the idea of joining the Jazz or was genuinely disappointed with the Photoshop skills.
Betting odds earlier this month put the New York Knicks as the favorites to land Lillard if he wanted out, followed by the Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat.