The NBA champion questions Damian Lillard’s decision to stay with the Trail Blazers

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Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard has signed a contract extension with the organization that will keep him in the team until the 2026-27 season. But at least one former player doubted that.

JR Smith, a two-time NBA champion who last played for the Los Angeles Lakers during the coronavirus-hit 2019-20 season, wondered if Lillard was making the right move to stick with the team that drafted him instead of going chasing an NBA championship with a different team.

“Like, I love Mrs. I love his game. I respect him for doing what he does. But at the same time, it’s like you’re going to rot in Portland, bro? You’re incredible.” Smith said.

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Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers watches during a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at the Moda Center on March 28, 2022, in Portland, Oregon.
(Abe Bar/Getty Images)

The one-time NBA Sixth Man made the remarks on the upcoming episode of “La Chill with Gilbert Arenas” on Fobo Sports Network.

Arenas said that if he could win six rings in his first six years, he would. The former NBA star added that the lack of rings will hurt the conversation about Lillard’s legacy in the NBA when all is said and done.

“The people you put in front of me aren’t even close to where I am, but because they’ve got a ring, they get pushed in front of me,” the former Washington Wizards star said.

Portland Trail Blazers Damian Lillard (0) leads to the basket against Denver Nuggets guard Marcus Howard during the second half of Game Five of the first round of the NBA Series, June 1, 2021, in Denver.

Portland Trail Blazers Damian Lillard (0) leads to the basket against Denver Nuggets guard Marcus Howard during the second half of Game Five of the first round of the NBA Series, June 1, 2021, in Denver.
(AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

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Lillard is one of the best players in the NBA.

Portland picked Lillard with the number 6 pick in the 2012 draft. He was an All-Star star in his sophomore year. He signed a four-year deal worth $176.2 million in 2019, which was then extended by two years worth $121.7 million in July.

Lillard averages 24.6 points, 6.6 assists and 4.2 rebounds in 711 games. Portland hasn’t made it past the Western Conference finals since Lillard became the focus of the organization.

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, left, shoots at Charlotte Hornets guard Lamelo Ball during the second half of a game in Portland, Oregon, on December 17, 2021.

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, left, shoots at Charlotte Hornets guard Lamelo Ball during the second half of a game in Portland, Oregon, on December 17, 2021.
(AP Photo/ Craig Mitchelldyer)

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Portland has only one championship in franchise history – coming in 1977 led by Maurice Lucas and Bill Walton.

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