The Portland Trail Blazers have made the playoffs in four consecutive seasons, twice advancing to the second round. Portland, though, hopes to improve on last year’s 41-41 finish.
Adding Carmelo Anthony would certainly help in that endeavor, which is why Portland’s leading scorer, Damian Lillard, is recruiting the 10-time All-Star.
“(I sent) a text message just to touch base,” Lillard said on CBS Sports Radio’s Reiter Than You. “You don’t want to be too forward into another person’s situation or into their privacy. But I just thought it was important to make sure that he heard me out and he knew that the interest came from the players. If he was to come here, he would have to get on the court with us and he would have to have a relationship with us. So I sent him a message, and we had a short conversation.”
Anthony averaged 22.4 points per game for the Knicks last season. Whether he winds up in Portland remains to be seen.
“You just never know in the NBA,” Lillard said. “Anything can happen. I’m not sure where I stand as far as my confidence in it, but I’ve reached out to him and told him we’re very interested, we would love to have him, what he can do to help our team, and why it would make sense. That’s all it is.”
Speaking of All-Stars potentially on the move, Lillard also weighed in on the Kyrie Irving drama in Cleveland. Lillard knows what it’s like for a star player to leave a franchise, as LaMarcus Aldridge left Portland in 2015.
Lillard said star players owe their teammates and fans the truth.
“You owe your teammates first because those are the guys that you spend the most time around that you have relationships with, more so than anybody else,” Lillard said. “And also the fans because they are part of your team. They’re the people that come and cheer for you and support you as much as anybody. So I think they’re the two groups of people that you owe the truth. They deserve to know the truth in where you stand and what your plans are.”
Lillard, who averaged 27.8 points for Portland last season, signed a five-year extension with the Trail Blazers in 2015. He is perfectly content playing in a smaller market.
“I don’t play for a market size,” he said. “I think I play for a great organization, I play for a great coaching staff, myself and my family love living in Portland, I’m close to my hometown, I play in the playoffs every year – I have no reason to be concerned with the extra stuff. Everything that comes my way is because of my work that I do on the court and because of the kind of person that I was raised to be and the kind of person that I am. So I don’t feel like there’s anything that I’m missing out on or anything that I can’t accomplish where I am now.”
Lillard also shared his thoughts on the NBA Summer League. The 27-year-old was Summer League co-MVP in 2012 with Josh Selby.
What, if anything, translates from the Summer League to the NBA?
“I think you can only read so much into it,” Lillard said. “I think it’s more important to see how a guy plays more so than what kind of numbers he has because if you got a guy going out there that’s going to be playing with two All-Stars and he’s out there scoring 30, it’s not likely that’s what the team is going to want to see him coming in and doing. But if you look at a guy like Lonzo Ball who’s out there playing the game simple, he’s kicking the ball ahead, he’s making the right plays, he’s taking open shots – that’s going to be the way that you want to see him play. I think it’s just how a guy plays the game as opposed to what his numbers says or whether he’s MVP or not.”