PORTLAND -- After navigating speculation over his desire to trade and opposition over his hiring of a new coach, Trail Blazers' star Damian Lillard stated that his duties will not change while the team investigates Neil Olshey, president of basketball operations.
"The games will continue. Our jobs continue. Lillard stated Saturday that all they can do is to win the game. He scored a record 25 points in Saturday's 105-90 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. "That's all we can control, doing our jobs and being prepared. And me being here for 10+ years and being a major part of this team and organization, it's my responsibility to keep doing that in the same way I've done. That's all I can do and that's exactly what I will do.
The Trail Blazers had earlier announced Saturday that O'Melveny & Myers was to conduct a "full, fair, and independent review" of alleged concerns about the workplace environment caused by Olshey.
After serving as general manager of the LA Clippers for part of two seasons, Olshey was appointed by the Trail Blazers in June 2012 to manage their front office. Olshey was responsible for Portland's selections of Lillard and the No. 6 selection from Weber State, an obscure mid-major program located in Ogden, Utah.
Lillard stated, "I believe the best way to lead the team is to concentrate on leading it." "We play basketball and my job it to be the point guard, captain and coach of this team. To do it again."
Lillard, Trail Blazers coach Chauncey Blups, and teammate Jusuf Nerkic answered similar questions Saturday about the investigation, reporting that they had no prior knowledge of Olshey's allegations.
Lillard stated, "It was new to me." "I found it as everyone else." It's an investigation, but that's all that I know.
Nurkic said, "All that I know is the team's statement." I don't have anything to add."
Billups was hired by Trail Blazers in June. Olshey defended him when reporters asked about a rape allegation in Billups’ past. He said that he hadn't spoken to Olshey "about this situation at hand" and added that they had only had game-related conversations.
Billups stated, "It's unfortunate." "An unfortunate time. Evidently, all I know is the information that everybody reads. What everyone else knows is the story and investigation. That's all I have. "I don't know anything else."
Nurkic was acquired by Portland in an exchange with the Denver Nuggets on February 2017. He saw his career flourish under Olshey's guidance.
Nurkic stated that "as far as our relationship is concerned, I don’t believe we have one." "We're being pros and that's what i'm looking for."
Carmelo Anthony, Lakers forward, was signed by Olshey and Trail Blazers after he had been out for over a year. He said that he didn't know about the investigation until Los Angeles' reporter asked him.
Anthony stated, "You just broke the news to me." "I don't know anything about that. You were honest. "I don't know what's going on."
Portland moved up to 5-5 after Saturday's win, passing the Lakers for No. 8 in the Western Conference standings.
Billups stated that it is a distraction due to all the talk about it. "But I can honestly tell you that I don't even think about it when I'm in the office with the guys. It's not even a small part of my day. "I'm focused on my game."