Damian Lillard doesn’t intend to move on from Portland to team up with other NBA stars anytime soon.
The guard signed a four-year, $196 million extension with the Trail Blazers and refuses to “sell out” for championship rings by leaving the city that picked him sixth overall in the 2012 NBA Draft out of Weber State.
Lillard spoke with Complex on Wednesday and discussed his thoughts about super teams.
“I think people are taking control because there’s no greater time to do it than now,” Lillard said. “And I don’t have a problem with that, but the way I see stuff is, like, I don’t prefer to go that route. Just like they’re choosing to do this stuff for their career, I’m choosing to do what I want for mine, too.”
This summer was an eventful one in the NBA. Kevin Durant elected to part ways with the Warriors to join the Nets, Anthony Davis forced his way to the Lakers via trade request and Paul George leveraged his way to an ideal situation when he joined Kawhi Leonard on the Clippers.
The balance of power has shifted in the NBA because of these moves, but Lillard wants to stay put and win it all on his own terms.
“To leave, what did I invest all this time for just to leave, you know?” Lillard said. “If I go play with three other stars, I don’t think that many people would doubt that I could win it. We would win it, but what is the challenge or the fun in that?”
Lillard, a four-time All-Star, has consistently been one of the best guards in the NBA in recent years. He has career averages of 23.5 points, 4.2 rebounds and 6.3 assists and has developed a reputation for knocking down clutch shots — like the signature dagger that eliminated the Thunder from the 2018-19 playoffs.
“I wanna be the one, the star that wants to be here (in Portland),” Lillard said. “I wanna be the one that embodies all of those things and then be a part of the rise from ‘we haven’t won since ’77, and now we won, and Dame’s everything to our city.’ I just am who I am, and that fits here.”