- LeBron James invited Damian Lillard to his house to “talk shop” over the summer, Yahoo Sports reported.
- During a rooftop lunch with Lillard and Anthony Davis, James pitched playing together on the Lakers.
- Lillard ultimately wasn’t swayed to join the Lakers and stayed with the Blazers.
LeBron James set up a lunchtime meeting with Damian Lillard to discuss joining the Los Angeles Lakers this past offseason, according to Yahoo’s Chris Haynes.
Lillard was in Los Angeles to film a music video when James texted him and asked him to come over to “talk shop,” Lillard told Haynes.
Lillard took an Uber to James’ house, where he was ushered into an elevator that went to the rooftop. There, James and Anthony Davis were having lunch with a bottle of rosé and invited Lillard to join.
According to Haynes, Lillard didn’t describe the lunch as a full-on recruiting session, but James nonetheless pitched him on the idea of leaving the Portland Trail Blazers and joining the Lakers
“He painted the picture to me that if I were to leave, the situation could look like this,” Lillard said.
Haynes reported that the three stars spoke about their respective first-round losses in the playoffs and what their teams needed to improve.
James has made it known before that he would like to play with Lillard, one of the NBA’s best scorers and most well-rounded guards. Asked in 2018 if Lillard was under-appreciated, James said, “Give me Damian Lillard. I’ll show you how appreciated he’ll be.”
Lillard told Haynes that he understood what teaming with James and Davis would look like, but that he wasn’t interested in leaving Portland, especially to join a super-team with other superstars.
Haynes noted, however, that Lillard was indeed questioning his future with the Blazers at the time. He had told reporters that he felt uncertain about the Blazers’ ability to win a championship. Ultimately, though, Lillard decided to return to Portland, inspired by the hiring of new head coach Chauncey Billups. He never made the trade request that so many in the NBA world were watching for.
“When I was like, ‘Man, what if I’m not back in Portland?’ When I actually had that thought, it just runs so deep with me to win here,” Lillard told Haynes. “I want to win here. I’ve attached myself to the history of this organization and this city. Just in thinking about how long it’s been since they’ve won, I want to be a part of that coming to an end. I want people to say, ‘When Dame came through here, he rode all the way out for us through the good and the bad. He was ready to sink with the ship.'”
James, meanwhile, continued his recruitment efforts for the Lakers. ESPN previously reported that James had a “war room” in his house to research potential stars who could become available and held meetings, both in-person and remotely, with other stars. The Lakers ultimately ended up trading for Russell Westbrook.
Courtesy By INSIDER