Damian Lillard has been one of the most talked-about names this NBA offseason. After rumors popping up of him potentially requesting a trade, it looks like the All-Star guard is intent on staying put for the time being.
Since returning from the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the rumor mill has been quiet regarding Lillard. Despite a lackluster showing from the Trail Blazers in free agency, the franchise cornerstone plans on sticking with the team.
Lillard was recently asked about his plans with the Blazers while live on Instagram and had a rather interesting response. When saying he's not leaving Portland, Lillard ended with "not right now at least."
There is so much that can be taken away from such a short response. This could be viewed as the first time Lillard himself has given Portland a short leash in terms of his situation. How things play out to start the regular season might be the final straw.
While it might play out differently, Lillard might follow a similar path as James Harden last season. If the Trail Blazers come out of the gates slow, it might lead to Lillard asking out.
The relationship between Lillard and the Blazers might have settled down, but it does not appear to be healed. We still might be steadily approaching the official start of the Damian Lillard sweepstakes.
Seeing this latest development is exactly why Daryl Morey has done the right thing and stayed patient with Ben Simmons. Even if it leads to some uncomfortable situations, Morey will continue to wait for the right deal to emerge.
As the Simmons saga has waged on, it has only become more apparent that Lillard is Morey's top prize. If he wants any chance of acquiring Portland's All-Star, he will need Simmons as a headline piece in return.
Things might have cooled off on the Lillard front, but it looks like things are far from finished.
Kevin McCormick covers the Philadelphia 76ers for South Jersey's 97.3 ESPN and Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @KevinMcCNBA.