Trail Blazers Could Shut Down Damian Lillard For Season | The NBA Top 75 Player Says He’s Not Sticking And Staying For A Rebuild

Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard’s outstanding performances in Portland, affectionately known as “Dame Time,” are almost up this season. The way things are going for the Trail Blazers, fans are wondering when Dame Time will be up altogether in Portland. 

Analysts claim the Blazers could be about to shut down the seven-time All-Star for the remainder of the season. Portland is considering this choice due to the reality that they will most likely miss the postseason for the second season in a row. 

The Blazers did the same thing with Lillard last year after a promising season tumbled into disarray as the losses piled up and Portland ruled the six-time All-Star out for the remainder of the season due to his abdominal injury. He played his last game on Dec. 31 and chilled for the rest of the season, check in hand.

According to NBA insiders Marc Stein and Chris Haynes, the Blazers superstar could be shut down within the next few games if the team cannot turn this last stretch of the season around and grab a spot in the play-in tournament. 

Shutting Dame Down Again: Will Dame Stay?

Blazers Edge reported the scenario was posited by Haynes. “Dame probably has five or six more games left before Portland probably shuts him down for the season,” Haynes said. “There’s no use playing the duration of these games.”

Portland is currently 31-40 and 13th in the Western Conference after their loss to the Boston Celtics on Friday, which saw Lillard drop 41 points, followed by another loss (117-102) to the surging Clippers. Dame DOLLA went for 21-7-9 in that game.

He says he’s not content with losing and wants to compete for championships not get shut down and collect his check.

The Trail Blazers have some questions that need answers and they won’t find them this season. According to theBlazers only have a 5 percent chance to make the 10th seed which would qualify them for play-in tournament play, and a 90 percent chance to miss the playoffs altogether. 

The Blazers certainly are aware of this, and the speculation is their game plan moving forward is that if the playoffs are totally out of reach within the next few games, they will rest their star and prepare for the next season. The thought process sounds like they want him to be fully healthy next season, mainly because Lillard will be 33 years old by the time the next season begins.

Life Without Dame

Portland has one of the best players in the NBA in Lillard, but after him they don’t have much to offer for a title-contending team besides Anfernee Simmons and a healthy Jusef Nurkic. 

That squad they have is evidently not enough to get over the hump and to the NBA Finals. The Blazers are at a point where they have to decide what they’re going to do with this team, because on plenty of occasions they have shown that they can get to the playoffs and maybe even the second round (and the 2019 Western Conference finals, where the Warriors absolutely embarrassed them). 

But this team will not advance to an NBA Finals as it is right now, and with an aging Lillard going into his 11th season, there have to be questions about what Portland will do with him. Right now it’s obvious that Portland is gearing up to have him healthy for next season to try and make another run at the playoffs, but long-term having a mediocre roster with a superstar averaging a career-high in points (32.4) isn’t going to be good enough to get them to a championship (or another deep playoff run).

Their team won’t be bad enough to get a franchise-changing player through the draft to put next to Lillard where he will make an immediate impact in the next two to three years. 

Lillard has made it clear over his career that he plans to be a Trail Blazer for as long as he can, but Portland should really explore a world without Lillard (trading him would obviously get them a king’s ransom). They’re in no-man’s land, and with Lillard they’ll continue to be in that space.

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