Damian Lillard is threatening to sit out games if the NBA won’t guarantee his Trailblazers a “true opportunity” for the playoffs in a return to play … saying, “I’m not going to be participating.”
“I’m telling you that right now,” the superstar guard told Yahoo Sports in a phone interview Tuesday. “And you can put that [expletive] in there.”
The NBA has been kicking around the idea of a shortened regular season for its comeback … reportedly eyeing a possible plan of a few regular-season games followed by the playoffs.
But, Lillard says that just ain’t going to fly with him … because he says if Portland — which is currently 3.5 games out of 8th place (and the final playoff spot) in the West — doesn’t get a fair shake to make the postseason, he’s out.
“If we come back and they’re just like, ‘We’re adding a few games to finish the regular season,'” Lillard says, “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.”
Of course, the NBA has also reportedly thrown around the idea of beginning its playoffs immediately … and telling all the non-playoff teams to stay home.
Lillard says he’d rather see some sort of play-in-style tournament for squads on the bubble … saying that would get him back on the court in 2020 no problem.
“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 says.
The NBA has yet to set a date for its possible return to play … although reports have indicated the league is in talks with Disney’s resort in Orlando, Fla. to resume the final games of its season there this summer.