Blazers’ GM says Lillard, McCollum staying put

Damian Lillard and the Blazers buried the Lakers with the final shot.

Despite suffering some nasty playoff losses and another first-round exit, Trail Blazers general manager Neil Olshey is saying never when it comes to the backcourt of Damian Lillard nand C.J. McCollum.

Olshey held a rare press conference with reporters following the Blazers’ season-ending loss to Golden State in the first round of the playoffs, a series the Warriors easily swept.

The chat was highlighted by Olshey’s insistence that the Blazers’ standout guards will stay put, in spite of several social media suggestions to the contrary.

But that’s what a GM is supposed to say.

Truth is, the Blazers need some frontcourt help, and as talented as Lillard and McCollum are, you have to wonder what they may bring in return.

Eventually, the Blazers may want to set a new course.

This isn’t to say Olshey needs to pull off a trade. But exploring trades and trying to improve the team is his job — even if it means making a deal that may not win in the court of public opinion.

After all, it’s the court of basketball that matters.

BYE, FESTUS

Olshey did say that big man Festus Ezeli, a bust who arrived from the Warriors, will not return.

Per the Oregonian: “Ezeli, who signed a 2-year, $15.6 million deal with the Trail Blazers last offseason, never played a game for Portland. Prior to training camp, he received injections of a bone marrow aspirate concentrate and Orthovisc in his left knee which were supposed to help delay a surgical procedure and possibly allow him to compete for the Blazers during the 2016-17 season. When Ezeli’s knee didn’t improve to a point where he could return to the court, he decided to shut things down for the year and have a season-ending knee surgery which involved tissue from a cadaver donor in hopes it could save his career in the long term.”