The Portland Trail Blazers season ended on Monday night when the Golden State Warriors completed a four-game sweep in the Western Conference Finals. While the season came to a disappointing end, there is plenty to look forward to for the Portland faithful. According to a Yahoo! Sports report, point guard Damian Lillard is expected to sign a four-year supermax contract extension with the team to keep him in the Pacific Northwest through the 2024-25 NBA season.
To qualify for the supermax, Lillard has to be named to one of the three All-NBA teams, and with the season he had, that’s all but a lock for the All-Star point guard. Lillard averaged better than 25, 4 and 6 on the year leading the Blazers to 51 wins despite injuries to Jusuf Nurkic and CJ McCollum that could have derailed the team’s progress down the stretch.
Lillard also had a fantastic postseason, ending the Thunder’s season with a 50-point performance and the single-biggest moment of these playoffs—a 35-foot, game-winning dagger to close out that series. Lillard also helped push the Blazers past a very good Nuggets team including a 39-point performance in Game 1 and 32 points in a must-win Game 6.
These playoffs showed the resolve of the whole Blazers team, and Lillard is looking forward to building on what the team accomplished this season.
“Look at what we did this year,” Lillard told Yahoo Sports. “We played without our starting center [Jusuf Nurkic, who suffered a season-ending leg injury]. We played without CJ [McCollum] toward the end of the season. So, looking at that, we were still able to get here. We were one step away [from the Finals]. And not only here, we had double-digit leads in three of the four games. I think getting here is reassuring that we can get the job done.”
The Blazers are going to have some difficult personnel decisions to make this summer if they’re going to improve the team in free agency. They’re currently over the salary cap, and without trading a significant piece, it’s going to be very hard for them to add new rotation players. One question they won’t have to answer, however, is who the face of the franchise will be over the next six years.