Paul George. Kawhi Leonard. Anthony Davis.
A number of players in recent years have been coming up on eligibility for a “supermax” extension with the team that drafted them and deciding they would take less money to get out of town and play for another franchise. It led to (or in Davis’ case is in the middle of leading to) some ugly separations.
Damian Lillard is not one of those guys — he is comfortable where he is and is interested in signing a supermax to stay in Portland, Brian Windhorst of ESPN reports.
That said, these days Lillard is feeling very settled….
The signs are pointing toward Lillard being interested in a Blazers extension offer this summer…. Lillard has sent signals that he’s interested in locking up a quarter of a billion in the days leading up to his 29th birthday in July.
Yes, a quarter of a billion.
If Lillard makes the All-NBA team this year — and he’s a lock to do that, likely second team — then he qualifies and this summer the Trail Blazers can offer a four-year, approximately $199 million extension beyond the two years, $61 million he has guaranteed after this season already. This is the same extension Russell Westbrook and James Harden inked to stay with their teams. (John Wall, too, but the Wizards would like us to forget about that one.)
Portland would be wise to do this. Lillard is a top 10-15 player in the NBA (depending on how your rank guys), but more than provide value on the court he has been great in the Portland community, is loved by fans, and is the reason the seats are filled in the Moda Center and sponsors are lined up to be associated with the franchise. Lillard brings in a lot more value to the Trail Blazers than what his salary would bring him. While there is always “what if” speculation around the league about maybe Lillard wanting to bolt Portland for another market, it never seemed to have much of a foothold in reality. Lillard loves the city and his role on the franchise.
The only question is will ownership be on board? Since the passing of Paul Allen, the Blazers have been owned and run by Vulcan, Inc., one of Allen’s holding companies, with Allen’s sister calling the shots. The team is for sale, although only to a buyer committed to the city and keeping the team in Portland, according to reports. Often when a team is sold costs are trimmed to make the sale more palatable, which leads to questions. That said, selling the Blazers without Lillard would be a hit to its current value.
Otherwise, Lillard will be a Trail Blazer through his prime.