The Portland Trail Blazers' next general manager won't just have Damian Lillard's present and the team's long-term trajectory to consider when charting a new path forward for an organization that's clearly reached a crossroads. Whoever succeeds Neil Olshey will be tasked with navigating the fraught nature of a contract extension for the best player in franchise history, too.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, Portland's search process for its next general manager will inevitably be complicated by Lillard's desire for an ultra-lucrative contract extension in the summer of 2022.

Lillard wants a two-year, $107 million extension in July, and he and his agent need the next general manager to sell ownership on the idea. As much as anything, this cuts to the core of the Blazers' search process. His desire for an extension into his advanced NBA years has turned into a battle for the franchise's future, an existential threat to reshaping and redirecting the organization in a post-playoff reality.

In July 2019, after leading the Blazers to a surprise Western Conference Finals appearance, Lillard signed a four-year, max-level contract extension to keep him with the Blazers through 2024-25. League rules make Lillard eligible for a contract extension on the third anniversary of the date his last contract was signed, allowing him to re-up with Portland come late July.

At 31 years old, playing at a substandard level this season and currently sidelined by a nagging abdominal injury, though, Lillard isn't the shoo-in for that mammoth extension he and his representation hope. Executives across the league have reportedly blanched at the prospect of affording Lillard that extension, dampening their interest in the Blazers' vacant GM job, according to ESPN.

Among several top-level GM candidates who fit the profile of Portland's applicant pool, there's no enthusiasm to grant Lillard his massive extension contract through the 2026-27 season. In fact, several executives told ESPN they would be far more interested in the Blazers job with ownership's blessing to move Lillard sooner than later.

Lillard is averaging 21.5 points, 4.0 rebounds and 7.8 assists per game in 2021-22, shooting 39.7% overall and 30.2% from three-point range—numbers well below his recent All-NBA norms. Portland, 11-13, sits at tenth in the Western Conference, awaiting lineup and personnel changes that appear only a matter of time away.