NBA GM on Damian Lillard: ‘It’s easy to be loyal when they’re giving you that much money’

David Akerman
3 Min Read
Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers superstar Damian Lillard continuously talks about his love for the franchise and how he likely wouldn’t feel the “same joy and happiness” if he joined a different team to win a title.

The Blazers continue to struggle to get over the hump, and that’s led Lillard to get some hate from people in the NBA world.

One NBA general manager offered thoughts about the seven-time All-Star.

“It’s easy to be loyal when they’re giving you that much money,” the general manager said, according to ESPN’s Baxter Holmes.

It’s true that the 32-year-old is getting tons of money from Portland. He’s currently in the second year of a four-year, $176.3 million deal. The former Rookie of the Year also signed an extension last year that ties him to the Blazers at least through the 2025-26 season.

He holds a player option worth $63.2 million for the 2026-27 season. If Lillard were to pick up that option, he will have made just under $450 million throughout his career.

That’s a large chunk of change, and the general manager does make a good point. Getting paid the amount that Lillard gets and is scheduled to receive might make anyone in the world intensely loyal.

Despite making the playoffs plenty of times in his career, the former No. 6 overall pick has never made it past the Western Conference Finals. He made it to that point in the 2019 NBA Playoffs, but he and the Blazers were overmatched by Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors, who won the series in a four-game sweep.

Since then, Lillard hasn’t been able to even make it to the second round of the playoffs. This season, the squad looks destined to either not make it to the postseason or experience another quick exit.

Portland is currently 29-31, which is only good for 11th in the Western Conference, the first seed that wouldn’t make the cut for the play-in tournament.

Despite Portland’s struggles as a team, Lillard has been having a phenomenal season. He’s currently recording 32.3 points, 4.3 rebounds and 7.2 assists per game while knocking down 47.2 percent of his shots from the field and 38.1 percent of his attempts from beyond the arc.

He’s coming off an incredible 71-point performance against the Houston Rockets on Sunday, which understandably irked a former Rockets champion.

There’s still some time left for the Blazers to salvage their campaign and make some noise in the postseason. Their chances this season and beyond surely hinge on whether or not Lillard can continue being a supernova on offense.

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David is a Miami native and University of Maryland graduate who has experience in writing, editing and video production. He has been following the NBA and NFL for as long as he can remember.