Damian Lillard Says He’s ‘Optimistic’ About Portland Contending for NBA Title

Damian Lillard has entered year ten with the Portland Trail Blazers, but questions have circulated about how long Dame wants to continue playing with the Blazers after four opening round losses in the last five years.

Despite the coaching changes in the offseason—from the departure of Terry Stotts to the hiring of current head coach Chauncey Billups—Lillard says he’s had a conversation with Billups and is “all in” on the team being a contender this season.

“I’m optimistic. I’m a believer,” Lillard told NBA.com. “And I love this organization.”

“It was never out of hate or that we don’t like each other,” he added. “It was just, ‘This is how much I want to win it.’ So, once it was time to come back and I had a conversation with Chauncey and had a conversation with Neil, I’m not going to come back halfhearted. I’m going to come back and be all in.”

While Dame’s averages of 17 points per game while shooting 36 percent from the field and 8.3 percent from three-point range are below his career averages of 24.6 points per game, 43.8 percent shooting and 37.4 percent from behind the line, Billups says things will “work itself out”:

“I think Dame is probably in the middle of trying to play and do some of the new things that we’re asking, but also [figuring] out when to really be aggressive,” Billups said. “He’s one of the best players in the game for a reason. You play through him, and everything kind of works itself out.”

Damian and the Blazers take on Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday October 27th.