Portland Trailblazers' All-Star Damian Lillard called out his team following a loss to the Golden State Warriors and several of his teammates felt that they had disrespected the game. The recent slide also had people saying a roster change is needed, but finding one that makes sense will be hard.
ESPN reports that Lillard, the team's leader, called out his teammates after losing 135-90 to the Warriors. He said that it's okay for the team to make mistakes but they "have to play with some damn heart and compete out there."
Some of the team's players agreed with their leader and said they felt like they disrespected the game. Lillard's back mate duo C.J. McCollum said that their recent loss is not acceptable, regardless of who they're playing against. "You have to be ready to play and perform and compete," he said. "And I don't think we did any of those things today."
Reserve Allen Crabbe adds that the 45-point was an embarrassment for them. He also said that the team has got to get it together.
The expectations for the Blazers are high this year after reaching the second-round of the playoffs last year when people were expecting them to be a lottery team following LaMarcus Aldridge's departure. But so far the team has been mediocre, currently holding a 13-16 record and losing six of its last seven games.
One reason for the Blazers early season struggle is due to their flawed roster, especially on defense, which makes the team a target for trade rumors. However, as FOX Sports noted, it will be hard for the team to find a trade that makes a lot of sense for them.
Lillard is untouchable and it's hard to see the team McCollum give up on McCollum after rewarding him with a lucrative contract while Maurice Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu are a bargain considering their contributions in relation to their contracts. Mason Plumlee is in a contract year, which would make other teams wary of trying to acquire him with the risk of Plumlee bolting at the end of the season.
Crabbe could be a good trading piece that other teams might want to look, especially those who are looking for a catch-and-shoot specialist. Unfortunately, Crabbe's limited skill set and his new contract with the Blazers limits the team's potential trade partners.
Recent acquisition Evan Turner also has an expensive contract and the Blazers won't give up on him that easily, despite the slow start. Ed Davis is also a possibility, but his limited skill set means there won't be much demand for his services.
For now, the Blazers best move is for the team to internally solve their issues and rediscover the passion and hard work that propelled them into the second round of the NBA playoffs last year. And with Lillard leading the way for the young roster, it's hard to imagine the team not correcting its course and making another run.