Damian Lillard Won't Play If The Trail Blazers Don't Have Playoff Hopes
By Bill Galluccio
May 26, 2020
Before the coronavirus pandemic forced the NBA to put a hold on its season, the Portland Trail Blazers were sitting at 29-37, just 3.5 games out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. During a regular 82-game season, they would have had 16 games to try to catch the eighth-place Memphis Grizzlies, but under the NBA's reported proposal to restart the season, they may have just four games to make up the deficit.
The league is hoping to return to games in July and is considering a plan to have teams play enough games to reach a total of 70, which would fulfill regional television deals. While this scenario may be the easiest to pull off, at least one player on the Trail Blazers isn't happy. Damian Lillard spoke to Yahoo Sports and said that he will not suit up if his team isn't given a fair shot at making the playoffs.
"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. But I'm not going to be participating. I'm telling you that right now. And you can put that in there," Lillard said.
He said he wants to play and would rather see the league come up with a better way to finish up the season.
"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, and then I'm going to be sitting right on that bench during the games," Lillard told Yahoo Sports. "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."
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