The Portland Trail Blazers believe the culture they have built with Damian Lillard at the center of it will attract free agents.
"Players start with, 'I want to go to a playoff team,'" Neil Olshey says. "And while everyone knew that Damian was a foundational player, it was very hard to prove it last offseason. And I think the fact that now, making the second round of the playoffs is critical."
Lillard hopes free agents sign with the Blazers for what they see and not from what they hear during a recruitment.
"As far as recruitment, I never see myself getting overly involved with it," Lillard says. "In free agency, people will ultimately make their own decisions. But I have thought about the fact that what our culture is here, what people see here, that will attract people."
Lillard's extracurricular training retreat last summer in San Diego is also well documented.
"I'm not saying I won't say anything to people, but I'm not going to go completely out of my way," Lillard said. "I'll talk to a guy and be like: 'This is what we do here. This is how you can help.' I would express about what I think they could do, how they could help, what we could be with them, things like that -- why I think it would be good for them, why I think it would be good for our team. I could see myself doing that."
"He doesn't put himself above the team or above other players," CJ McCollum said. "He's not taking Uber to games instead of arriving with the team. He just works hard. He treats the rookies like he treats vets. He never demoralizes people and doesn't talk down to them. It's rare you see a player of his caliber so humble, so laid back. He's caring."