Damian Lillard removed any lingering doubt about his immediate future, saying on social media Wednesday that he will be back with the Portland Trail Blazers to open the 2021-22 season.
There was speculation this offseason that the six-time All-Star could be on the move, especially after Portland was eliminated from the NBA playoffs in the opening round for the second time in two seasons.
“Back for more …,” Lillard said on Instagram. “#RipCity is my city.”
The photo connected to the post is of Lillard weaving his way through a sea of cameras and Trail Blazers fans on the way to the back of the arena.
Early speculation that the 31-year-old could be on the way out centered on a report that he was disappointed in the hiring of Chauncey Billups as head coach.
Lillard never said himself that he was interested in leaving and said on social media two weeks ago that he was not planning on leaving. Wednesday’s Instagram post confirms that intention.
The sixth overall selection in the 2012 NBA draft out of Weber State averaged 28.8 points over 67 games last season with 7.5 assists and 4.2 rebounds. He has averaged 24.7 points with 6.6 assists and 4.2 rebounds over his nine seasons, all in Portland.
In 2019, Lillard agreed to a four-year supermax contract extension that will begin with the upcoming season. He is set to be paid $39.3 million by the Trail Blazers this season and $48.8 million in the final year of the deal in 2024-25, per Spotrac.