The hottest topic of the NBA free agency was the future of Damian Lillard. For a long period of time, it felt like his future was incredibly uncertain - it seems like those times are over, for now.
Carmelo Anthony had an in-depth conversation with Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports about joining the Lakers, and his conversations with Damian Lillard. Anthony spent a portion of time specifically speaking about Lillard wanting to leave the Blazers.
“You know our friendship," Anthony said to Chris Haynes. "We talk all the time. It was never, ‘We’re getting out of here.’ It will always be Portland. The next [star player in Portland] will have to do a lot. That’s his town, his organization, his city. And I’m coming to him as someone who’s been [in his situation] a couple of times in different places. He’s never talked about leaving. What he talked about is, ‘I want to win.’ ”
While Carmelo Anthony says Damian Lillard has never spoken about leaving, and has been focused on winning, sometimes the only way to win is by leaving. Many NBA stars have been rewarded for their loyalty, and many have not.
Unfortunately for Lillard, the Blazers still don't look like a title-contending team and haven't for quite some while. At some point, it becomes hard to believe if the organization will ever give Lillard the pieces he needs to win. If the team were to have another early playoff exit this year, it would be very easy to sympathize with Lillard if he ever wanted to win elsewhere.