PORTLAND, Ore. — Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers are expected to come to terms over the summer on a four-year, $191 million supermax contract extension, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Lillard would officially qualify for the supermax if he’s voted to one of the three All-NBA Teams, which is virtually a lock for the four-time All-Star.
Lillard has two years and approximately $62 million remaining on his current deal. The extension would put him under contract for the next six years, and he’d be 34 years old by the time the deal expires, perhaps solidifying his status as arguably the greatest Trail Blazer of all time.
According to rival executives, a new pact for Lillard would almost certainly include a player option, something the guard bypassed on his previous deal.
“We’ll focus on the [contract] later,” Lillard told Yahoo Sports after the Blazers’ 119-117 Game 4 overtime loss to Golden State Warriors on Monday night.
The seven-year veteran led the Trail Blazers to the Western Conference finals for the first time in 19 years before being swept by the defending champions.
“Look at what we did this year,” Lillard told Yahoo Sports. “We played without our starting center [Jusuf Nurkic, who suffered a season-ending leg injury]. We played without CJ [McCollum] toward the end of the season. So, looking at that, we were still able to get here. We were one step away [from the Finals]. And not only here, we had double-digit leads in three of the four games. I think getting here is reassuring that we can get the job done.”
Although Lillard wasn’t able to have a breakout offensive performance because of the Warriors’ ultra aggressive traps and double teams and a nagging rib injury, his competitiveness and perseverance were admired from the opposite bench.
“Dame is a special player,” Warriors star Draymond Green told Yahoo Sports. “He just keeps battling. He loves this team and this city, and you respect the fact that he wants to win here and do it his way. He’s an ultimate competitor, and you can tell he’s from Oakland. He’s going to find a way to get it done.”
The series proved Portland is still a few pieces away from legitimately contending for a title. For the second consecutive year, the game plan was to take Lillard out of the game by swarming the star and forcing him to pass and rely on his teammates to hit big shots.
Roster depth also remains a major concern for Portland. Including the regular season and postseason, Lillard led the league in minutes played with 3,488.
If Neil Olshey — the Blazers’ president of basketball operations — decides against making a trade or stretching the contracts of Evan Turner or Meyers Leonard, then Portland is likely headed for another season over the luxury tax threshold and it would severely restrict the team’s options in the offseason.
“We just have to continue to improve with the guys we have,” Lillard told Yahoo Sports. “And then if it presents itself where we can get some guys in that can maybe take us to the next level, then look at that. I think that’s all we can do.”
Another major decision for the Trail Blazers is the future of their head coach, Terry Stotts. The team holds his option for the 2019-20 season, but it would likely require an extension this summer to get Stotts to return to the sideline.
Stotts was not pleased when he wasn’t offered an extension last year, sources said. As the second-winningest coach in franchise history and coming off a 53-29 record that equated to the third seed in the West this season, Stotts is deserving of a new deal.
“It's a disappointing loss, but for me it was an outstanding season,” Stotts said Monday night. “The guys in the locker room are special. It's been a special season. Always tough to lose the last game of the year, but I couldn't be more proud of the group that we've had.”
The Trail Blazers watched the Warriors celebrate on their home court as Golden State heads to a fifth straight NBA Finals. The Blazers were so close to extending the series, but realize how much more they need to grow.
“We’re one step away from the Finals, and I see it’s the maturity and understanding how steady you have to be,” Lillard told Yahoo Sports. “We played great in spurts. We had four great first halves. But those moments where we kind of let up and relaxed and we stopped doing the things that gave us that lead and they pounced on us because they don’t change the way they play. They just keep going, keep doing the same stuff. They overtook every game that way.
“I think one of things we needed was experience and knowing what it’s like to play this far into the season. We’ve never been this far in the playoffs, so I think the experience is something you need. And obviously as players, we’ve got to improve. We have to improve as players. We were in some positions where we weren’t able to capitalize. All of us. From top to bottom. We’ve got to improve. And once those situations present itself again, we’ll be able to hold on.”
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