Ever since the Portland Trail Blazers lost in the first round of the NBA Playoffs once again, all eyes have been on Portland's superstar guard, Damian Lillard. For years, Lillard has been the face of the Blazers' franchise and not once asked for a trade elsewhere even when times got tough.
But it seems Lillard's patience is wearing thin with the organization that is starting a new chapter next season. Once the Blazers lost their first-round playoff series back in May, Portland called it quits with head coach Terry Stotts.
Many believed when the Blazers would undergo a search for Stotts' replacement, the star guard Damian Lillard would have some input on the next hire considering he's the franchise's cornerstone player and has been since he was drafted in 2012.
According to Yahoo Sports NBA Insider Chris Haynes, that's not the case. Per Haynes' report, Portland Trail Blazers General Manager Neil Oshey chose to enter negotiations with Los Angeles Clippers assistant coach Chauncey Billups to make him the team's next head coach. Billups, who was an immediate candidate, was reportedly not on Lillard's list of suggestions.
As Portland's franchise garners backlash from its fan base because of the decision to consider hiring Billups, who was reportedly accused of sexual assault back in 1997, Lillard found himself catching backlash from fans because of the organization's decision. Now, according to Chris Haynes, that adds to a list of negative factors that could push the star guard out of Portland sooner than later.
"The enormous backlash from the Portland Trail Blazers' process to hire a new coach and his concerns on whether a championship contender can be built have become factors that may push the franchise player — Damian Lillard — out the door, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Lillard has remained loyal to Portland in large due to the tremendous fan base. But over the last few days, he’s seen some of those same fans attacking him on social media for a pending coaching hire he played no part in consummating, sources said."
In the past, Lillard offered no indication that he wanted to be traded away from the Blazers, despite the franchise's constant struggles to build a championship-contending team to surround the All-Star guard with.
However, patience is wearing thin. It seems that soon enough, Lillard could be on his way out the door as the star guard is beginning to grow disgruntled with his situation. If that's the case, the Philadelphia 76ers would more than likely make a call to the Blazers, as they could use a player like Lillard to help get them past their own playoff woes.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.