Blazers tap All Star for future of franchise
The Portland Trail Blazers have signed their sensational guard Damian Lillard to a multi-year contract extension, cementing the NBA All Star’s role as the team’s top franchise player through the 2023-24 season.
The four-year extension also has a player option for 2024-25, Neil Olshey, Blazers president of basketball operations announced Saturday. The so-called supermax deal is reportedly worth $196 million.
“Since the day we drafted Damian he has exemplified every quality an organization could hope for in a franchise player,” said Olshey. “His perpetual leadership, willingness to embrace responsibility for outcome on the floor and ability to set a cultural standard illustrates what it means to be a Portland Trail Blazer and makes us ecstatic he has chosen to extend his contract at the first opportunity”.
Lillard, 28, joins Clyde Drexler as one of two Trail Blazers to receive All-NBA honors four times. He is one of three players in NBA history to record at least 1,500 points and 400 assists in each of his first seven NBA seasons, and in 2018-19 he became the first player in Trail Blazers history to tally at least 2,000 points and 500 assists in a season. When he was named All-NBA First Team in 2017-18, he joined Drexler and Bill Walton as the only Trail Blazers to achieve the honor.
Also, the winner of the 2018-19 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, Lillard holds career averages of 23.5 points , 4.2 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 0.97 steals in 549 games (all starts) over seven seasons with the Trail Blazers.
Selected with the sixth overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft out of Weber State, the 2013 NBA Rookie of the Year and four-time NBA All-Star has led the Trail Blazers to six consecutive playoff appearances, including last season’s run to the Western Conference Finals.
He holds career playoff averages of 24.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and 5.9 assists, and has hit two series-clinching shots in his postseason career.
Among all-time franchise leaders, Lillard ranks second in scoring (12,909), first in three-pointers (1,506), third in assists (3,479), third in field goals made (4,277), second in free throws made (2,849), fifth in minutes (19,907), ninth in steals (533) and 10th in games played (549).