PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Portland Trail Blazers hosted a media day on Monday morning to talk about the upcoming season and recent roster moves.
After a tumultuous summer, Portland Trail Blazers General Manager praised Damian Lillard to open Blazers media day after trading the Rip City legend to the Milwaukee Bucks.
“I want to open up thanking Damian Lillard for 11 incredible seasons with us. Obviously, (he’s) a Blazer legend and we’re very excited to see what he’s got in store next and we’re rooting for him,” he said.
It’s no secret that there were certainly some contentious times between Dame and Cronin this summer. When asked about the report that Cronin had shut down the idea of Lillard returning to the team this season, he gave his version of events.
“I told him I personally thought it was a bad idea. The trade had not been rescinded and I thought it would be consistently hanging over our heads that this trade request was still active and that wasn’t going to change,” he said.
Portland also heard from Deandre Ayton for the first time Monday, who the Blazers acquired in the Lillard trade. The center said he recalled getting beat by 40 a few times in Portland and what the fans were like in those instances.
“(I) definitely know how the fans can get when they’re turnt up. That’s the fun part. The fans are all in it. We’re the show in town so I’m going to try my best to do what I can to give you guys the best of me,” he said.
That didn’t always happen with Ayton in Phoenix. He said a change of scenery was needed, and that he’s ready to put his best foot forward.
“I’m with an organization that wants me and wants me to succeed so there’s a lot more passion when you feel that mentally. There’ll be a lot more grit and a lot more domination this year,” he said.
As for the Blazers’ top three pick Scoot Henderson, he says he doesn’t want to be compared to Lillard.
“The only pressure that I have is from myself. The pressure I’m putting on myself to be the best version of myself that day, to maximize that day and to go out there and kill my opponent. I don’t think there’s no pressure on me to be the new Dame. I’m not trying to be the new Dame. It’s a new era for a reason. I’m here to be Scoot Henderson,” he said.