Damian Lillard Says Proposed Play-In Tournament for Playoffs 'Perfect'

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IIMay 28, 2020

PORTLAND, OR - MARCH 10: Damian Lillard #0 of the Portland Trail Blazers looks on during the game on March 10 , 2020 at the Moda Center Arena in Portland, Oregon. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2020 NBAE (Photo by Sam Forencich/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Portland Trail Blazers All-Star point guard Damian Lillard is all for the NBA considering a play-in tournament that would allow the Blazers, who are 3.5 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the final Western Conference playoff spot, and others to compete for a spot in the league's altered playoffs.

"I feel like a play-in tournament would be perfect, just because we actually were in striking distance and also had enough games to get in the playoffs," Lillard said on ESPN's Jalen & Jacoby on Wednesday (h/t ESPN's Nick Friedell).

The 29-year-old later added:

"But to that point, if they did decide that we're just gonna go straight to the playoffs, obviously we would all be disappointed. ... We haven't performed to be in that top eight. So if that's the case, then fine. But if we're gonna just come back to play games, I feel like that'd be harder on everybody else."

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne reported on the potential format earlier Wednesday: 

"There is a playoffs-plus idea that includes 20 to 24 teams, with the NBA including more teams from the Western Conference than the Eastern Conference, sources said. The NBA is considering play-in possibilities with teams like New Orleans, Portland, San Antonio and Sacramento vying for the postseason, sources said."

Lillard voiced his opinion on the NBA resuming its 2019-20 season earlier this week:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Don't expect Dame Time without a playoff window 👀 https://t.co/velv4A1yqS

The league shut down in mid-March in response to public health and safety concerns amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Several updates were provided about the NBA's continued negotiations toward a return-to-play plan:

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

NBA is making progress on a plan to allow a limited number of family members to join players inside the Orlando bubble, per @wojespn, @ramonashelburne https://t.co/R2aP6owpPN

Michele Roberts, the executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, has been "conducting team-by-team conference calls with players":

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

The NBPA’s Michele Roberts is conducting team-by-team conference calls with players, detailing talks with NBA on formats for resumption of play in Orlando, financial implications of those options and gathering feedback, sources tell ESPN.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is scheduled to meet with the Board of Governors on Friday, but a conclusion does not appear imminent:

Adrian Wojnarowski @wojespn

While NBA’s Board of Governors meet with Adam Silver on Friday, there’s no current expectation for a decision on a finalized return-to-play plan to emerge from the session, sources tell ESPN. Talks on incorporating the three most serious plans remain ongoing with NBPA and teams.

Prior to the season's suspension, the 53-12 Milwaukee Bucks, 46-18 Toronto Raptors, 43-21 Boston Celtics and 49-14 Los Angeles Lakers were the only teams that had clinched a playoff berth.