Did Damian Lillard take the easy way out?

Damian Lillard has once again committed long-term to the Portland Trail Blazers, after signing a two-year, $122 million extension last week.

In a league where superstars get lured to other teams in search of a championship, Lillard has repeatedly shown that he’s loyal to the city of Portland and the Blazers franchise.

However, whether he has a chance to win a championship with Portland remains in question, and if he doesn’t, it could impact his career legacy. 

On Tuesday, Emmanuel Acho said he believes that with Lillard focusing on long-term security, he’s somewhat taken the easy way out.

“We always chastise Kevin Durant, saying he took the easy way out. Saying he joined the Golden State Warriors to win chips. But is Damian Lillard taking the easy way out? I don’t expect the Blazers to compete for a title this year, and Marcellus Wiley, my co-host, doesn’t expect them to compete for a title this year.

“But Damian Lillard is going to make $122 million over the next two years knowing that his team is not capable of competing for a title. Knowing there are no expectations for anyone to see the Blazers competing for a title. Damian is going to make $258 million over the next five years, knowing that the Blazers have no expectations of winning, and he, himself, has no expectations of winning.”

Last season, Portland finished 27-55, and Lillard — a 10-year veteran and six-time NBA All-Star — averaged 24.0 points, 7.3 assists and 4.1 rebounds in just 29 games, before undergoing abdominal surgery in mid-January, causing him to miss the remainder of the season.

Alongside Lillard next season will be Anfernee Simons, 23, a rising star for the Blazers who averaged 17.3 points on 40.5% shooting from 3. Portland also traded for Jerami Grant, who averaged 19.2 points and 4.1 rebounds last season for the Detroit Pistons.

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