Lilliard, Blazers owner meet, talk team’s direction

Damian Lillard of the Blazers secretly met with owner Paul Allen to discuss the direction of the team, according to a report.

A secret, closed-door meeting between Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard and team owner Paul Allen resulted in a meeting of the minds, according to a report.

Chris Haynes of ESPN reported Lillard and Allen discreetly met for an hour or so before the Blazers host the Indiana Pacers last Thursday. It was the first home game Allen attended in 2018.

Haynes reported the 27-year-old Lillard requested the meeting to solidify his commitment to the Blazers, while at the same time to receive assurances from Allen was equally committed to putting together a team that compete for an NBA title and to do so in an expedited pace.

Haynes wrote:

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.

The meeting marked the first time Lillard and Allen had conversed in that manner, though. Haynes reported the meeting was productive, involved give and take and could result in more such meetings in the future.

Allen is known to meet with star players of the teams he owns, the other being the Seattle Seahawks. The billionaire has met frequently with high-profile players from his NFL squad.

The Trail Blazers stand 25-22, seventh in the Western Conference standings, and will host the Minnesota Timberwolves on Wednesday night.