With all this talk about free agents, you might have forgotten that the Portland Trail Blazers are actively pursuing a contract extension for our 2-time All-Star, Damian Lillard.
Though the exact details of the contract have yet to be finalized, it is being reported by ‘sources’ (man, I hate that word) such as ESPN, CBSSports, and NBCSports, that the Portland Trail Blazers and Damian Lillard have agreed on a contract extension that will keep #0 in the red, white, and black until 2021. The contract that has been reportedly agreed upon will pay Lillard approximately $120-million in total over 5-years, beginning with the 2016-2017 NBA season.
However, Damian Lillard’s rookie contract team-option was picked up last September by Trail Blazers FO, meaning that we will be paying him $4,236,286 for the 2015-2016 season. His big pay-raise will take effect at the beginning of the 2016-2017 season.
This move just about gives Damian Lillard the keys to the franchise, making him the team’s designated player; a provision in the infamous Collective Bargaining Agreement that permits each team to have one player on a Rookie Scale Contract sign a 5-year extension at the maximum pay level with a 7.5% annual raise on contract.
With this extension being made, and in the way and time that it is being done, I have to believe Portland expects a departure by LaMarcus Aldridge. Neil Olshey has given Damian Lillard the drivers seat of the Rip City bus. What we have now could be a new-look team centered around the play-style of Dame, which is what came to mind the second the Trail Blazers added the likes of Gerald Henderson and Mason Plumlee to the team. Whether that stays true, we’ll just have to wait and see as more free agent moves and/or trades are made over the next couple of weeks. One thing I do know for certain is that Damian Lillard is all in for Portland.
What we have now is the true beginning of the Damian Lillard Era.