Lillard Opts Not to Play Even if Season Returns
Damian Lillard claims that he will not play in the NBA for now until the pandemic fully subsides. Despite many rumours of a return with a unique setup, the Portland Trail Blazers star is firm with his decision unless he gets to play for playoff spots in the season.
After a stunning playoff run last season, the Blazers have gone into a disappointing stretch this year with a tough record in the Western Conference. Lillard was the main catalyst for the team last season, especially when he sent the Oklahoma City Thunder home with a game-winner that clinched the series in five games.
However, it seems that the Thunder is headed for the playoffs should the league return, and the Blazers are back to the drawing board once more. There is still no solid plan regarding the league’s plan to return this year, but rumours of playing in a bubble area might be a promising plan.
Lillard claimed that he will only play if the Blazers are guaranteed to have a fair chance at making the playoffs. Although the current squad seemed to be at its worst despite reaching the Western Conference Finals last season.
‘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’, Lillard said. ‘I'm telling you that right now. And you can put that in there’.
Lillard and the Blazers are 3.5 games back from having a playoff spot in the Western Conference. A few key players were set to come back this season, and so he believes that the team clearly has a chance to get back into the top eight and reach the playoffs.
He claims that it would suck to miss the playoffs just because of the pandemic. Lillard knows that they were set to be healthy and primed for a playoff push. He is confident that he and the Blazers can beat anyone.
Words: Paul Daniel Flores