Damian Lillard denied he has made up his mind and will ask for a trade in the coming days, but said he still hasn’t decided about his future.
That gives the Knicks – and other suitors – hope that Lillard eventually will want out of Portland as he reportedly will meet with new coach Chauncey Billups and GM Neil Olshey in Las Vegas on Friday night.
Lillard, making his remarks after Team USA’s practice, still indicated his future is very much in the air. However, at the tail end of the conference call, when asked if he “expects’’ to be with the Blazers next season, he paused and said he did.
TrueHoop.com reported Friday morning he will ask for a trade in the coming days.
“I woke up to those reports,’’ Lillard said. “It’s not true. I said the last time I spoke to you guys, a lot of things are being said that’s not coming from me. It’s not true. I also said I haven’t made any firm decision on what my future will be. There’s no need for anybody else to speak for me.
“A lot of things go into it,’’ Lillard added. “The only people I need to discuss it with at this moment is my team.’’
The Post has reported multiple times Lillard will likely be attracted to the Knicks’ situation because their assistant coach Johnnie Bryant is one of his mentors from Oakland. The Knicks have been monitoring Lillard’s situation for months, interested in putting together a package for the Blazers superstar.
Lillard was bitterly disappointed in the Blazers’ first-round knockout against the undermanned Blazers and wants to compete for a title.
“The best way to put it is be more urgent about our next step and how we move forward,” Lillard said Friday. “We made [the] playoffs a lot of years in a row. We’re not a bad team. We’re a winning team. We got a great environment, great city, great fans. But we’ve reached that point where it’s not enough. Do we actually want to win it all? Is that what we’re shooting for. We have to do things to show that.”