Report: Damian Lillard ‘actively’ recruiting free agents to Portland Trail Blazers

Peter Dewey
3 Min Read
Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers star guard Damian Lillard reportedly is “actively” recruiting free agents to Portland this offseason.

That could be a good sign for Blazers fans, as it shows that Lillard may not be looking to ask out from the franchise. Lillard is under contract through the 2025-26 season and has a player option for the 2026-27 season, but it’s possible he could ask for a trade since the Blazers struggled in the 2022-23 season.

A seven-time All-Star, Lillard averaged 32.2 points and 7.3 assists per game while shooting 46.3 percent from the field and 37.1 percent from beyond the arc in the 2022-23 season, but Portland still finished with one of the worst records in the Western Conference.

The Blazers have a key free agent in Jerami Grant this offseason, but it appears Lillard is looking to add more players to the roster as well. Bringing Grant back would be a solid first step, but Portland needs more if it’s going to contend in a loaded Western Conference.

Portland could be active in the trade market to build around Lillard as well, especially since the team has the No. 3 overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft.

Since the Blazers could look to build a contending roster around Lillard, they may not want to draft a young player at No. 3.

The No. 6 overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, Lillard has spent his entire career in Portland, making seven All-NBA teams in the process. Portland’s best season in the Lillard era came in the 2018-19 season when it made the Western Conference Finals.

Unfortunately, the team ran into the juggernaut of the Golden State Warriors, who had Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant at the time.

Prior to the 2021-22 season, Lillard and the Blazers had made the playoffs in every season dating back to the 2013-14 season. However, Lillard dealt with injuries in the 2021-22 campaign, leading to the team missing the postseason and trading away guard C.J. McCollum.

As the Blazers look to reconfigure their roster, Lillard appears to be in support of the team turning things around.

He’s shown extreme loyalty to the franchise since being drafted, so it’s not surprising that Lillard would be looking to get players to sign with Portland this offseason.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball, football and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.