Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard is not backing down from comments he made about the state of the organization and a potential head coaching change. He understands basketball is a business.
Lillard previously spoke to Jason Quick of The Athletic regarding a potential organizational shakeup should the Blazers fail to make a deep playoff run. He appeared to allude to the team possibly replacing head coach Terry Stotts after rumors earlier this month suggested the team was “expected” to fire Stotts after the season.
“Dame” recently added more context on his comments during an interview with Sam Amick of The Athletic:
“Yeah, I was just referencing like, that’s the business, you know? That’s the reality of the situation that I was assessing,” the Blazers star said, via Amick. “I know that those kinds of things happen. We all hear things, and we hear what’s being said and all that stuff, so like our success or lack of success — that depends on it. I’m not a fool. Nobody here is a fool. So you’ve got to understand that. I didn’t think I was saying nothing that everybody didn’t already know based on what we’re constantly hearing and seeing.”
However, Portland’s late-season run might save Stotts’ job. He was named Western Conference Coach of the Month in May after helping lead the Blazers to a 7-2 mark prior to the start of the playoffs.
Then again, Blazers fans are likely to forget about the success at the end of the season if the team comes up short in a first-round matchup with the Denver Nuggets.
Lillard might hold the keys for Portland. He averaged 23.0 points, 9.3 assists and 4.7 rebounds in three games against the Nuggets during the regular season, but those scoring numbers will likely need a bump if the Blazers hope to pull off the upset.