Blazers’ Damian Lillard reveals he once thought he was getting traded to Knicks
Damian Lillard has cemented himself as the face of the Portland Trail Blazers’ franchise over the past decade, complete with a long-term deal that should keep him with the organization for years to come.
But in an interview with Lisa Robinson of Vanity Fair, in which Lillard discusses myriad current social issues, the five-time All-Star reveals that he once thought that he could have been headed to the New York Knicks:
“I thought I was headed there a few years ago; I was hearing trade rumors,” Lillard said of New York. “The Garden is my favorite place to play.”
While one day playing for the Knicks can never be officially ruled out, Lillard appears locked into Portland through at least the 2024-25 campaign, when he will rake in an anticipated $54.25 million.
Despite his love for playing at MSG, Lillard hasn’t eviscerated New York more than he has any other franchise. In 16 career matchups, he has averaged 23.8 points, 5.8 assists and 4.4 rebounds against the Knicks.
Before the 2019-20 regular season was put on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lillard was en route to another potential spot on the All-NBA First Team. Averaging 28.9 points and 7.8 assists (both of which are on pace to set new career highs), Lillard has enjoyed the best statistical season of his career.
But with the Blazers currently on the outside looking in of the playoff bracket, they will need even more out of Lillard down the stretch, a necessity of the lucrative deal that the star has had bestowed upon him.
Portland is currently holding the No. 9 spot in the Western Conference with a 29-37 record, which is 3.5 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies. Lillard is hoping to grab that No. 8 seed and get a shot at the Los Angeles Lakers, who he thinks the Blazers can defeat.