Star guard Damian Lillard is expected to address a report after Team USA’s practice Friday that stated he’s days away from asking the Blazers for a trade.
Last week, Lillard didn’t put the rampant speculation to rest when The Post asked him if he was mulling a trade. Lillard stated the words haven’t come from his mouth and that Blazers GM Neil Olshey knows exactly how he feels. Lillard also didn’t give a ringing endorsement on the new controversial hiring of Chauncey Billups during that Team USA press conference.
TrueHoop.com reported Friday morning Lillard is days away from asking for a trade. 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. The Post has reported the Knicks likely would be amenable to trading three first-round picks. Time is of the essence with the July 29 NBA Draft coming up and the Knicks needing to know whether to continue pursuits of PG Collin Sexton, among others.
In a Yahoo interview posted Friday morning, Lillard reiterated how deeply upset he was at the first-round ouster to a Nuggets team playing without Jamal Murray and Will Barton. Lillard expressed the sentiment that night after the series loss and again last week with the same pain, saying he joined the Olympic Team to take his mind off it.
“I think that’s the stage we’re at as a team where we all, not just me, not just my teammates, not just our new coaching staff, the front office, everybody in this organization must look in the mirror because we’ve constantly come up short,’’ Lillard said. “We have to look in the mirror and say I have to be better because whatever it is we’re doing is not working and it’s not giving us the shot to compete on the level that we want to compete on.
“We’re not losing a lot, but we were eliminated by a shorthanded Denver team that I felt we should have beat. I just walked away from that really disappointed. I was like, ‘Man, this just isn’t going to work.’ We’re not winning the championship, but we’ve got a successful organization.’’