Star player Damian Lillard said in an interview with Chris Haynes from Yahoo Sports that he’s not planning on playing in the NBA resumed season if the Portland Trail Blazers don’t have the opportunity to make the playoffs.
If Portland Trail Blazers are to resume season with no pathway to playoffs, Damian Lillard tells @YahooSports he won’t play in games: “I’m going to be sitting right on that bench.” https://t.co/SmSTgujb1p pic.twitter.com/hYVmqhGU7A
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) May 26, 2020
The NBA is still defining the competition conditions in which the season will resume. Some of the options are finishing a shortened regular season that would be between 72-76 games and play the playoffs or doing a play-in tournament for the bottom seed in each conference.
“If we come back and I don’t have an opportunity to make the playoffs, I will show up to work, I’ll be at practice and I’ll be with my team. I’m going to do all that [expletive] and then I’m going to be sitting right on that bench during the games. If they come back and say it’s something like a tournament, play-in style, between the No. 7 and No. 12 seeds, if we’re playing for playoff spots, then I think that’s perfect.”
Lillard was also optimistic about the opportunity that the team had to make a push for the playoffs before the season was suspended. Both Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins had spent most of the season out with injuries and were expected to return in March.
“It would suck not to get in the playoffs because our thing was, we had fought ourselves back into position to get a spot. We had our starting center and starting power forward coming back, so we had a lot to look forward to and for a great reason.”
The Blazers hold the 9th seed in the Western Conference with a 29-37 record and are 3.5 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies to get in the playoffs.