It appears the Dame Time will forever be in the pinwheel as sources told Andscape’s Marc J. Spears and ESPN’s Bobby Marks that Damian Lillard agreed to a two-year, $122 million extension with the Portland Trail Blazers, according to a story from ESPN’s Brian Windhorst.
Set to make $42 million this season, $45.5 million in 2023-24, and $48.8 million in 2024-25, he’ll make more than $60 million when he’s 35 and 36 years old.
That’d be almost $10 million more than Giannis Antetokuonmpo in 2025-26, and depending on how Lillard’s extension breaks up, more than the $59 million Steph Curry is scheduled to make that same season. That’s a king’s ransom, but he always made clear his desire to go down as the best player in franchise history. Might as well get paid, too.
Perhaps that’s why the Blazers gave Anfernee Simons a $100 million deal and Jusuf Nurkic $70 million. Four more years of development and perhaps they can get the Western Conference Finals again. Hey, maybe Shaedon Sharpe will be a rotation player by then. In 2025-26 Lillard, Simons, and Nurkic will be making a combined $107 million.
I know the cap increases yearly at this point, but the number set for 2022-23 is $123 million. If it increases $11 million each year like it did this offseason, that’s still only $156 million in 2025-26. If a core is good enough, a competent front office can build around it for $40 million-plus what the owner is willing to pay over the tax.
Those three aren’t Steph, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green, Jody Allen ain’t Joe Jacob, and Chauncey Billups isn’t Steve Kerr. I have a bad feeling about this.
At the same time, I’m happy that Lillard is burying himself with his riches because I’m a Blazers fan. I just hope he can sleep at night — but I guess with that kind of security, it’ll be pretty easy.
Baker Mayfield getting a few parting shots on the way out the door was inevitable. He’s an emotional player who underperformed on a talented team, and he finally found a coach who was less expendable than him. While I’m sure it felt good for whoever shared how much Mayfield annoyed them, I’m less certain that The Athletic should’ve got a double scoop of grievances.
According to Jason Lloyd, “Mayfield was widely viewed as childish and immature. His behavior annoyed teammates and divided the locker room. He was often difficult to coach.”
Head coach Kevin Stefanski and Mayfield didn’t agree on philosophies, and fourth quarters were disastrous for Mayfield. We get it. He grates on you after a while.
I just don’t think Cleveland needed to keep with sports journalism tradition by leaking a bunch of Mayfield slander and complaining about divisiveness when the locker room should be at odds over the current quarterback. How many players’ wives would want Deshaun Watson in their home for a team dinner?
If you stumbled upon Watson roaming around an empty FirstEnergy Stadium in his robe, as Mayfield did in so many Progressive commercials, your reaction isn’t going to be confused. I bet Baker didn’t wear a hand towel after showers. Oh, I forgot, Watson’s terry cloth was just for the massage therapists.
Instead of whispering sweet protestations about Mayfield into Lloyd’s ear, try giving him an actual story and tell us what the players are saying about the new guy who still hasn’t settled all 24 of his civil suits. I couldn’t care less about how Watson is holding up or whatever else is going on at the local media therapy sessions.
Lloyd mentions the comment the Browns made to ESPN about wanting an “adult in the room.” Apparently, there aren’t many of them, be they coaches or players or executives or owners. Cool, you hit the eject button on Baker and had a couple of witty one-liners you couldn’t resist reciting into the camera afterward. Way to act like every other asshole in the club. This is not to say a franchise led by Jimmy Haslem is exempt from being a rank-and-file dirt bag. What I’m trying to get across is there was a certain charisma that’s now vanished.
It wasn’t long ago that the Browns were a beloved new fad like a cronut or ceviche. I want that version back, because this new iteration is gross and crusty and soulless and too much like the rest of the NFL.