In an interview with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols, Lillard noted he wanted to open up a line of communication with Allen to see if they can improve the entire organization:
“It was just me showing urgency, spark that urgency, figure out, ‘OK, what do we have to do?’ We’re a five, six seed. What do we got to do to make the jump? If you don’t have a line of communication with people who can make the changes or the people who can make impact for things happening for the better, then you’re just going out there playing.”
Haynes noted Allen “feared” Lillard was going to request a trade leading up to the meeting, but it wound up leading to the three-time All-Star reaffirming his place with the Trail Blazers and “to gain assurances that the organization was just as devoted to expeditiously crafting a title-contending team.”
Lillard signed a five-year contract extension through the 2020-21 season in July 2015. He’s been with the Blazers since they drafted him No. 6 overall in 2012.
Portland entered the All-Star break as the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference with a 32-26 record. The team has made the playoffs in each of the previous four seasons but hasn’t advanced beyond the second round.
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