Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers did the right thing on Sunday. The two sides agreed to a massive four-year, $196 million super max contract extension that will keep the All-Star point guard in the Pacific Northwest for a long time. Both sides needed to make this deal happen.
Lillard is in the middle of his prime at 28, is a four-time All-Star, was named All-NBA First Team in 2018, All-NBA Second Team in 2016 and 2019, and was third-teamer in 2014. He’s invaluable to the Blazers and is undoubtedly the present and future of the franchise.
Lillard averaged 25.8 points, 4.6 rebounds and a career-high 6.9 assists in 35.5 minutes per game last season. He’s one of the league’s best pure scorers and can get into “human highlight reel” mode as quickly as anyone in the NBA. The dude is sick.
During the 2018-19 season, Lillard ranked fourth in the league in win shares (12.1), second in offensive win shares (9.7), third in offensive box plus/minus (6.6) and seventh in value over replacement player (5.4). He’s undoubtedly one of the NBA’s best guards.
What’s more important for both sides is the history here. Portland made Lillard the sixth pick of the 2012 NBA Draft and he’s spent his entire seven-year career there. This extension will keep him in Portland through his prime, which means he’ll almost certainly wind up being one of the greatest players in franchise history. Unless he’s traded, he’ll get a jersey in the rafters.
This is the perfect fit for both sides and was a deal that needed to get done. Now the Blazers have to figure out how to build a championship-caliber roster around their franchise player.