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Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard denies requesting trade

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0), shown April 6, 2021, is under contract with the franchise until 2024. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI
Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0), shown April 6, 2021, is under contract with the franchise until 2024. File Photo by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

July 16 (UPI) -- Portland Trail Blazers superstar Damian Lillard denied making a trade request, but the point guard said he was conflicted on his future with the organization.

"Right now, I'm not sure what I'm going to do," Lillard told reporters after the Team USA men's basketball team's practice Friday at UNLV. "What I can say is my intentions and my heart has always been set on being in a Trail Blazers uniform for my entire career.

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"But I think over time, you want to win it all. And I want to win it all in a Trail Blazers uniform. But we all have to be making strides toward that."

Earlier Friday, multiple outlets reported that Lillard would ask for a trade in the near future. According to ESPN, the guard has been speaking with owner Jody Allen and general manager Neil Olshey about the Trail Blazers' plans this off-season, and Lillard plans to have dinner in Las Vegas with Olshey and new head coach Chauncey Billups later Friday.

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Lillard, who is under contract with the Trail Blazers until 2024, downplayed the trade rumors while saying his message to team management is "to be more urgent." Portland has made the postseason in eight consecutive seasons, but the team has been eliminated in the first round in four of the last five years.

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"The best way to put it is to be more urgent about what our next step is and how we move forward," Lillard said. "We're not a bad team, we're a winning team. We've got a great environment, we've got a great city, we've got great fans. There's a lot of positives.

"I just think we've reached that point where it's like, 'OK, it's not enough. Do we actually want to win it all? Is that what we're shooting for?' We've got to do things to show that. We've got to put action behind that. That desire to win at that level -- that's been my only thing this entire time."

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The 31-year-old Lillard departs Monday for the Summer Games in Tokyo for three weeks as part of Team USA. While at the Olympics, free agency and the NBA Draft will take place, though the Trail Blazers currently have no picks.

Lillard said he expects to be in a Trail Blazers uniform next season, but that could largely depend on what Portland does this off-season.

"I haven't made any firm decision on what my future will be," he said. "A lot of things go into it."

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