Portland Trail Blazers’ superstar Damian Lillard is only interested in playing again this season if he gets an opportunity to make the playoffs. Lillard recently told Yahoo Sports that he intends to sit out games if NBA resumes 2019/20 with a shorter schedule.
According to reports, the league is considering an option to have all teams play 70 games in order to meet the demands of regional television deals after which they would immediately skip to playoffs. If this happens, Lillard isn’t willing to take part in “meaningless games” as he believes Blazers wouldn’t have “true opportunity” to make it to the postseason 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. But I’m not going to be participating. I’m telling you that right now. And you can put that in there,” said Lillard.
Lillard won’t mind if the NBA makes other changes as long as Blazers can make a run for the playoff spot.
“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,” he added.
After making the Western Conference Finals last season, Portland Trail Blazers have had a disappointing campaign so far in 2019/20. Blazers currently sit as nine seed with 29-37 record and are 3.5 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies at eight. However, Portland was hoping that a strong finish could get them into a playoff race, especially since they were set to get their starting center Jusuf Nurkic back from injury just before the league suspended the season due to coronavirus.
NBA still remains mum about their plans to resume the competition, but is optimistic about the prospects of crowning a champion. There are reportedly several options in consideration, including taking all 30 teams to Disney World’s sports complex in Orlando and finish out the 2019/20 there.