NBA champion doubts Damian Lillard’s decision to stay with the Trail Blazers

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Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard has signed a contract extension with the organization that will keep him with the team for the 2026-27 season. But at least one former player has questioned that.

JR Smith, two-time NBA champion who last played for Los Angeles Lakers during the coronavirus-affected 2019-20 season, wondered if Lillard made the right move to stay with the team that drafted him instead of chasing an NBA championship with another team.

“Like, I love Dama. I like his game. I respect him for what he does. But in the meantime, will you just rot in Portland, bro? You are incredible.” Smith said.

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Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers watches a game during a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Moda Center on March 28, 2022 in Portland, Oregon.

Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers watches a game during a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Moda Center on March 28, 2022 in Portland, Oregon.
(Abby Parr/Getty Images)

The former NBA Sixth Player of the Year made remarks for the channel’s upcoming “No Chill with Gilbert Arenas” episode Fubo Sports Network.

Arenas said that if he could win six rings in his first six years, he would. The former NBA star added that the lack of rings would hurt talk of Lillard’s legacy in the NBA when all was said and done.

“The people you put in front of me are not even close to my height, but because they have a ring, they are pushed in front of me,” said the former Washington Wizards star.

Portland Trail Blazers defenseman Damian Lillard (0) hits the basket against Denver Nuggets defenseman Marcus Howard in the second half of Game 5 of the NBA First Round Playoff Series, June 1, 2021, in Denver.

Portland Trail Blazers defenseman Damian Lillard (0) hits the basket against Denver Nuggets defenseman Marcus Howard in the second half of Game 5 of the NBA First Round Playoff Series, June 1, 2021, in Denver.
(AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

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Lillard is one of the best players in the NBA.

Portland chose Lillard with no. 6th pick in the 2012 draft. In his sophomore year, he was an All-Star. In 2019, he signed a four-year, $176.2 million contract, followed by another two years, $121.7 million, in July.

Lillard is averaging 24.6 points, 6.6 assists and 4.2 rebounds in 711 career games. Portland hasn’t advanced past the Western Conference Finals since Lillard became the center of the organization.

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, left, shoots Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball during the second half of a game in Portland, Oregon, December 12.  17, 2021.

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, left, shoots Charlotte Hornets guard LaMelo Ball during the second half of a game in Portland, Oregon, December 12. 17, 2021.
(AP Photo/Craig Mitchelldyer)

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Portland has only one championship in franchise history, in 1977 with Maurice Lucas and Bill Walton in charge.