Blazers’ GM Neil Olshey hoping Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum extensions ‘sends a message’
It just this time last year that many believed the Portland Trail Blazers were going nowhere fast with the star backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. But coming off a surprising run to the Western Conference Finals, the team’s first in nearly 20 years, both players signed lucrative multi-year extensions with Portland, cementing their status as franchise legends and ensuring the Blazers will remain a factor in the Western Conference for the foreseeable future.
At a press conference discussing Lillard and McCollum’s new contracts on Wednesday, Portland general manager Neil Olshey reveled in his team’s ability to lock up both players long-term during a summer when three new superstar tandems in the league’s biggest media markets.
“In a summer where, you see a lot of tandems being created, a lot of guys leaving small markets for bigger markets… that Dame and CJ were able to commit to each other and the organization, is huge. Hopefully it sends a message,” he said, per Bleacher Report’s Sean Highkin.
Olshey, of course, is indirectly referencing Anthony Davis joining LeBron James with the Los Angeles Lakers, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George teaming up for the LA Clippers, and Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving taking their talents to the Brooklyn Nets.
Portland has never been a marquee free-agent destination. Under the stewardship of Olshey, the Blazers have long prided themselves on developing incumbent talent and finding diamonds in the rough via trade and free agency. But with Lillard and McCollum both re-upping in Portland, perhaps players across the league will take notice of the undeniable value in the Blazers’ ballyhooed culture.