No playoff chance, no play, says Blazers' Lillard

Tanya Simon
May 30, 2020

Portland star Damian Lillard says he won't play if the resumed National Basketball Association season doesn't offer the Trail Blazers any chance of making the playoffs.

"I'm telling you that right now", the superstar guard told Yahoo Sports in a phone interview Tuesday.

While it would be a bold statement to sit out, Lillard can't be the only player who feels that way.

"If we come back and they're just like, 'We're adding a few games to finish the regular season, ' and they're throwing us out there for meaningless games and we don't have a true opportunity to get into the playoffs, I'm going to be with my team because I'm a part of the team", Lillard told Haynes.

Though the National Basketball Association appears set to resume play in July - likely at ESPN Wide World of Sports at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando - specifics for the season remain murky.

Lillard said he would look forward to possibly taking on the LeBron James-led Lakers. Lillard said the team was at the cusp of making moves in the Western Conference and if they are at full health they could do more damage in the playoffs this time because everyone is returning to the court rusty. I'm not going to be participating. Portland was three-and-a-half games out of the Western Conference's eighth and final playoff spot when the league suspended play on March 11. "I'm going to do all that (expletive) and then I'm going to be sitting right on that bench during the games", Lillard said.

"I feel like a play-in tournament would be ideal, just because we actually were in striking distance and also had enough games to get in the playoffs", Lillard said.

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Of course, the National Basketball Association has also reportedly thrown around the idea of beginning its playoffs immediately. and telling all the non-playoff teams to stay home.

The Blazers and the Grizzlies were fighting for the eighth place in the playoffs prior to the National Basketball Association suspension. "We had fought ourselves back into position to get a spot". They play hard, they're exciting and they've got a lot of young talent.

"Right now, I'm just in a space where I want to come back and play".

If the Blazers were somehow able to sneak into the postseason, they could be set up for a matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round.

"I feel like both series could be a little bit hectic for the Lakers, but I think more so us, because of the experience and where we are in our careers".

"If we return as well as they're similar to, 'we're including a couple of video games to end up the routine season, ' as well as they're tossing us around for useless video games, as well as we do not have a real chance to enter the playoffs, I'm mosting likely to be with my group since I'm a component of the group. That's what we want".

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