Outside of a short stretch when he first came into the league and the Blazers had LaMarcus Aldridge, Damian Lillard has been the face of the franchise in Portland and he has said repeatedly that he wants to be in Portland for the long haul and that he would never bounce to look for greener pastures, even when things had gotten tough, and this weekend he put his money where his mouth is and signed a massive extension to stay in Portland for at least the rest of the prime of his career.
The new deal is for four-years and is worth $196 million. The deal will not kick in however until the 2021-22 season as he still has two seasons remaining on his current deal, so all-in-all Damian Lillard is locked up in Portland for the next six seasons at a total price tag of just under $260 million.
Lillard has been in the league for seven seasons and is set to turn 29-years old in the middle of this month and during his career he has been an All-Star four times, including each of the last two seasons, and he has been All-NBA four times, which is what has made him eligible to sign a contract this large.
Not many people are deserving of a deal like this, but based on what Lillard has meant to Portland, he is worth it and it’s not surprising in the least to see Portland make this happen.
During his career Lillard is averaging 23.5 points per game, 6.3 assists per game, one steal per game and is a career 36.8% three-point shooter and on top of that he has been incredibly durable during his career, having played 82 games three times and having never played less than 73 games in a single season in his career.
Also, Lillard has steadily improved his defense the longer he has been in the league. He’s not an elite defender and he probably never will be just because he is smaller than most point guards he goes against, but he deserves credit for realizing it was a shortcoming in his game and working to improve it.
Portland is coming off of a Western Conference Finals appearance this past season and they have made some nice additions to their team in this young offseason, but make no mistake about it, Portland will go as far as Damian Lillard is going to take them and that, combined with everything he has meant to the franchise, who has largely put average rosters around him, makes him worth this deal.
Portland also didn’t have an option because someone was going to max out Damian Lillard, so why not do it if you’re Portland?
Top Photo: Sean Meagher/The Oregonian