With the NBA beginning to make headways to resume its season, there is a big collective voice in the room that needs to be considered when making those final decisions: The players.
According to NBC Sports' Pro Basketball Talk, the NBPA is reaching out to players and receiving feedback on particular scenarios for return.
Player safety should and will be at the forefront of all these discussions to bring the NBA back. One of those players has taken his stance with this entire situation that has still yet to be concrete, and that’s Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard.
On Tuesday morning in an interview with Chris Haynes, NBA Insider for Yahoo Sports, Lillard said he would not play in games under certain circumstances.
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 [expletive] in there. — Damian Lillard
There are numerous options floating around how to return the NBA season and what that will look like. A play-in tournament for the playoffs? Go right into the playoffs with the top-8 seeds before the NBA season was suspended?
In more recent news, conversations have begun to take shape of having the the NBA resume in late July at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.
When the NBA season suspended on March 14, the Blazers (29-37) were currently in the ninth spot in the Western Conference standings sitting 3.5 games behind the eight seed Memphis Grizzlies.
Make no mistake, if the league decides to give those teams with a fighting chance to play and earn a playoff spot, Lillard will bring it.
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 [expletive] and then I'm going to be sitting right on that bench during the games. 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. — Damian Lillard
More from our Trail Blazers Insider Dwight Jaynes to come.
Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with host NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon.