Portland Trail Blazers star point guard Damian Lillard met with team owner Paul Allen to gather an understanding of the organization’s direction, league sources told ESPN.
The two met discreetly for approximately one hour in Allen’s office at Moda Center before hosting the Indiana Pacers on Thursday, sources said. It was the first home game Allen attended in 2018.
Lillard, who will turn 28 on July 15, requested the meeting in part to reaffirm his commitment to the only professional franchise he has suited up for, but also to gain assurances that the organization was just as devoted to expeditiously crafting a title-contending team, sources said.
According to sources, the meeting was held without knowledge of anyone else in the organization. Allen notified the Trail Blazers’ basketball operations and business branch afterward.
In the weeks leading up to the meeting, Allen feared Lillard would request a trade, sources said, but a trade request was not made. The two-time All-Star made it clear, though, that he has championship aspirations and wanted to fulfill those lofty goals during the remaining years of his prime window.
Source: Chris Haynes of ESPN
Jeff Hornacek: ‘We’ve moved on’ from Joakim Noah
New York Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek strongly indicated Tuesday that exiled center Joakim Noah will not be back with the team.
“We’ve moved on. He’s ready to move on and maybe have an opportunity somewhere else,” Hornacek said following the Knicks’ first practice after the All-Star break.
Noah and the Knicks have mutually agreed that the veteran forward be away from the team indefinitely following a heated argument between him and the coach at practice in late January.
Hornacek said Tuesday that the plan is for Noah to remain away for the foreseeable future. He wasn’t sure if Noah would return before the end of the season, noting that the decision would come from team president Steve Mills and general manager Scott Perry.
Source: Ian Begley of ESPN
Anthony Davis: ‘We go to the Finals’ with DeMarcus Cousins Healthy
As New Orleans star Anthony Davis prepares for the second half of the season with the Pelicans holding on to the eighth seed in the Western Conference, he still thinks about what could have been this year had teammate DeMarcus Cousins not ruptured his Achilles.
“We could have gone through the playoffs. No one could really stop us as bigs. We go to the Finals if we went,” Davis told ESPN’s Rachel Nichols in an interview over All-Star weekend.
Davis and Cousins were on pace to become the first teammates ever to each average 25 points and 10 rebounds per game when Cousins went down with the season-ending injury on Jan. 26. The Pelicans were sixth in the West at that point and climbing in the standings. Cousins was averaging 25.2 points, 12.9 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game. According to ESPN Stats & Information, over the past 50 seasons, only four players averaged those numbers for an entire season — and all four were named MVP.