Blazers president says he’s ‘keeping the core together’

Portland Trail Blazers president Neil Olshey says he’s not looking to trade Damian Lillard or C.J. McCollum and wants to keep the team’s core together.

Although the Blazers had a stellar regular season in 2017-18, they were swept in the first-round of the playoffs by the New Orleans Pelicans, and many around the league believe Olshey needs to shake up the roster and move Lillard or McCollum.

Olshey, however, doesn’t agree.

“We’re keeping the core together,” Olshey said. “Knowing Dame and C.J. have at least three years left on their contracts. And we give that group the best chance to win without impeding our ability long-term in terms of being into a number that’s completely non-liquid.”

During summer league, Lillard refuted a report that claimed he’s unhappy with the franchise and wants to be traded. Like Olshey, Lillard doesn’t agree with the narrative that he and McCollum need to be split up.

“I don’t agree with it,” Lillard said. “I think it’s that simple. I think it’s the easiest thing to say. I don’t agree with it, though. I’m not the guy making decisions. It’s a great organization. I think everyone has done a great job. Coach [TerryStotts has done a great job since Day 1. We’ve been in the playoffs five years straight.”