PORTLAND, Ore. — Damian Lillard said he will not play in a restructured start to the NBA season if the Blazers aren't given a legitimate chance to make the playoffs.
He made the revelation Tuesday morning in an interview with Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.
"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 told Haynes via phone.
Portland's current record (29-37) puts them at No. 9 in the Western Conference. They are 3.5 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the final playoff seed.
Lillard said he'd like to see a play-in style tournament with six teams to determine the final two playoff spots.
"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 told Haynes.
The NBA suspended the season on March 11 and is in negotiations to resume the season in July at Florida's ESPN Wide World of Sports at the Walt Disney Resort.
The league is considering a number of different options to finish the season, including finishing the regular season before starting the playoffs; hosting a postseason play-in tournament; entering directly into the playoffs with the teams currently in playoff position; and a 1-16 seed playoff format independent of conference affiliation.