Damian Lillard: NBA return-to-play plan ‘going forward is fair’
Damian Lillard has expressed his support for the NBA’s return-to-play plans, specifically concerning how it appears the league is doing everything possible to ensure player safety for the teams involved.
Lillard made his favorable remarks about the NBA’s restart plan in an interview with Lisa Robinson of Vanity Fair, although the Trail Blazers star did exhibit some hesitancy about the situation.
“As a competitor, I’m happy we will get an opportunity to continue and try to make a run in the playoffs, Lillard said. “I am a little concerned about the risk we’re taking dealing with the virus, but the NBA will take all precautions into consideration to keep us safe. I think the plan going forward is fair.”
Not all NBA players are completely on board with the plan, however, including Lillard’s teammate Carmelo Anthony, who remains “up in the air” about traveling to Orlando.
What’s more, “several dozen” players reportedly took part in a conference call Wednesday in which whether the Orlando bubble format is a good idea.
The NBA intends to resume play with a tentative restart date of July 30 — just recently bumped up one day, per a Thursday report from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN — at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, Fla.
22 of the NBA’s 30 teams have been invited — 13 Western Conference teams and nine Eastern Conference teams — a roster of squads that of course includes the Trail Blazers, which currently are slotted ninth in the West and sit 3.5 games out of the eighth spot.
An eight-game finish to the regular season will allow teams like the Blazers in pursuit of the final seeds in each conference the opportunity to jostle for playoff positioning. A play-in series is in play should the eighth and final seeds remain in doubt in either conference.
Interestingly enough, Lillard’s Blazers were the lone NBA team to vote against the league’s original 22-team proposal. Lillard, like several other NBA players who have weighed in on the restart plan, is simply eager to get back on the court, regardless of the unprecedented circumstances.