Damian Lillard should stay at the Portland Trail Blazers and hope they make some big signings, according to BJ Armstrong, Ovie Soko and Mo Mooncey.
On the latest episode of Heatcheck, the 29-year-old’s future at the Trail Blazers was discussed, with the trio asked if he should move elsewhere.
“The grass isn’t always greener on the other side,” warned Armstrong.
“I’m not convinced that Damian needs to go anywhere. He is a very established player. I love what he’s done there in Portland. And all of these guys moving around doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to win a championship.
“Every player can’t just run to win a championship. It doesn’t validate you. That was one of the things you saw with Kevin Durant. I think it’s important for people to be comfortable with where they’re at. I hope as a basketball fan that Damian stays there in Portland and continues to fight and do the things you do as an athlete. What’s wrong with doing your best? You don’t always have to win a championship. I know it’s nice, I know we talk a lot about it.
“But I love competition. And I’d love to see Damian go against Steph Curry, James Harden, all the other great players.
“For him to go and chase a championship, and have to get to a LA or get to a New York, just moving doesn’t always mean that it’s better. Hopefully he stays there. He’s built something special up there in Portland. I’d love to see him continue to fight. I think it would be that much sweeter if he was able to win there in a Trail Blazers uniform.”
Would a switch to a bigger city mean a more lucrative career for Lillard?
“The original question about the big market, that’s a bit of a myth in this age of social media and stuff,” said Mooncey.
“He’s already on the cover of NBA 2K, which is one of the biggest things a player can get, because only one guy gets it every year. He’s got his music career that’s popping. He’s a household name.
“He doesn’t need a big market. If he wants a big market, that’s New York. Does he want to go to the Knicks? These are rumours about the Lakers and the Knicks that are coming from 2018. Back in 2018, he replied to a fan on Twitter and insinuated that he would be happy about playing for the Lakers, but he didn’t outright say it.
“What he did say it he is aiming to be one of the greatest and longest-tenure Portland Trail Blazers in franchise history. What he needs to do instead of asking for a way out, is asking for another player to come in. He needs to say to the Portland Trail Blazers’ front office, ‘we need to make some changes, we need another star’.”
Taking Portland to the next level
“They need to build that team around him now,” said Mooncey.
“What he needs to do is he needs to tell the Portland Trail Blazers over the offseason, ‘you’ve got to get me some help, you’ve got to build a team that’s actually going to compete’.”
Soko was in full agreement.
“His whole career has been built on hard work,” he said. “He’s been the underdog. I think he’s thrived on that role. I think that has made him into the player he is today. For him to leave, I don’t think it would be him being true to himself.
“From the Damian Lillard that has progressed through the league and fought for every inch that he’s gotten in the NBA, I don’t think he’d be satisfied to go somewhere else and win a championship.
“I do that the key for him would be to bring in some talent around him that could help him out. But leaving, I don’t think that’s the key.
“I don’t think that’s the ending that he would prefer anyway.”
You can watch the full discussion in the video at the top of this article