Blazers' Damian Lillard wants $107 million two year extension
The star point guard has put his team in a difficult spot, but what happens if they choose not to extend his contract?
Regarded as one of the most talented players of his generation, the star point guard is yet again at the center of speculation.
Are Damian Lillard's demands too much?
NBA fans will be all to familiar with the Damian Lillard saga that played out this past offseason. At the time, the former rookie of the year seemed to be on verge of requesting a trade. The Blazers, however, finally managed to convince him to stay. Indeed, the franchise was quite open about it's intentions to build around him. A few months later and some may be wondering whether or not that was a mistake. According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Lillard has asked for a two-year, $107 million contract extension that would see him receive $55 million per season from the Blazers. The Blazers are said to be weighing their options
What is the Blazers' position?
Just last week the franchise dismissed general manager Neil Olshey after an independent investigation into work place conduct. It was in fact Olshey who spearheaded Lillard's signing and would likely have been the person to at the very least negotiate with Lillard. It is now understood, however, that the candidates being considered by the Blazers are not interested in offering Lillard his desired contract and as such would actually prefer to cut ties with the player if a choice has to be made.
Where Lillard is concerned, he will be up for extension in July, but again according to Wojnarowski, his contract would have to be supported by the incoming GM, who in turn would need to convince owner Jody Allen that the move is plausible. There is additional uncertainty surrounding the ownership as Allen inherited the team from her late brother, Paul Allen. It remains unclear as to whether she intends to keep the team or sell it.
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And what about Damian Lillard?
To add a sense of irony to the situation, Lillard is said to be open to a restructuring of the team assuming he is involved in the decision making. To that end it has been reported that attempted to push the franchise towards letting go some of his veteran teammates in favor of younger players. It was even reported that Lillard tried convince to the Blazers to trade teammate C.J. McCollum for Philadelphia 76ers point guard Ben Simmons, but a deal was never struck
What will the Blazers and Damian Lillard do?
At this point the Blazers/Lillard situation is completely up in the air. Should the Blazers choose not to extend his contract, Lillard's deal will expire at the end of the 2023-24 season. Needless to say he will have no shortage of suitors should that happen. ESPN's Wojnarowski indicated that no less than three teams are currently waiting on Lillard to make a trade request in the hopes that Portland's asking price lowers.
Should the Blazers extend Lillard's contract?
One could argue that the situation is somewhat incredulous, in that Lillard has quite frankly not been at his best this season. At present he is averaging just 21.5 points per game at 39.7 percent shooting, which is his lowest since the 2015-16 season. To make matters worse, Lillard is currently sidelined with an abdominal injury.
In all there are varying arguments that can be made for and against Lillard continuing with the Blazers, however, one thing remains certain: At 31 years of age and a seemingly increased frequency of injury, the Blazers will have to think long and hard about whether or not $107 million across two years is actually worth it.