During last year’s offseason, Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard found himself mentioned in several trade rumors, including more than a few that linked him to the Los Angeles Lakers. As previously observed by ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the idea of the Lakers trading for Lillard was seen as a “reach” due to his “love” for the Blazers, but that didn’t stop the rumor mill from buzzing around the four-time All-Star point guard. However, it now appears that Lillard might not be as hot a topic in the 2019 offseason as he was last year, as a new report suggests that he plans to sign a huge contract extension with Portland this summer.
On Wednesday, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported that Lillard looks to have an “interesting” choice leading into the summer, now that he has two years and $60 million remaining on his current contract with the Trail Blazers. With Lillard averaging 26.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 6.8 assists for the Blazers, the 28-year-old guard is seen as a top candidate for an All-NBA team selection, which would, in turn, make him eligible for a “supermax” extension. This is reportedly something he is interested in signing, as opposed to players like Anthony Davis, Paul George, and Kawhi Leonard, who turned down supermax extensions and instead asked to be traded.
As pointed out by Windhorst, the Blazers will likely offer such an extension, and if Lillard signs it, he would add another four years and $194 million to his contract, thus locking him in for a total of six years and $250 million. Such a move would be similar to the extensions signed by other top-tier guards like the Houston Rockets’ James Harden, the Oklahoma City Thunder’s Russell Westbrook, and the Washington Wizards’ John Wall.
“This is how the owners hoped this would work when the supermax was installed, hugely reward franchise players and lock them down long before free agency,” Windhorst explained.
Damian Lillard is ready to commit long-term to the Blazers and sign a supermax extension— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) March 27, 2019
(Via ESPN). pic.twitter.com/D0hhWZnZVq
Although Windhorst added that Damian Lillard had once “unsettled” the Blazers fan base following last season’s discussions with late team owner Paul Allen regarding Portland’s direction going forward, the ESPN writer stressed that Lillard is now “feeling very settled.” He added that the former No. 6 overall draft pick, per sources, is no longer as frustrated as he may have been last year, and has no concerns about the team’s ownership situation in the aftermath of Allen’s death in October 2018.
According to Bleacher Report, Windhorst’s recent update on Lillard is consistent with what the Blazers superstar expressed in an interview with Yahoo Sports‘ Chris Haynes in February. At that time, he told Haynes that he has no plans to “sell [himself] out” to win championships, despite the Blazers’ recent lack of playoff success. Currently, Portland is third in the Western Conference with a record of 47-27, though the team suffered a potentially serious setback earlier this week when center Jusuf Nurkic went down with a season-ending leg injury.