By Eurohoops team / email@example.com
Damian Lillard will likely not be coming back this season if the Portland Trail Blazers abandon their pursuit for a playoff spot and instead take the tanking approach to move up in the NBA Draft.
“If we’re going to play for a draft pick then it wouldn’t make sense,” Lillard said when he was asked if he’ll play this season if the Blazers focus just on a draft pick. “Because I’m not going to play for no draft pick. I’m just not capable of that. If that was what we were doing or if that was what we decided to be doing, then it wouldn’t make sense for me to play.”
Lillard talked to the media for the first time after undergoing surgery on January 13 to fix an abdominal injury that was aggravated during the Olympic Games in Tokyo. There’s no set timetable for his return since his condition will be subject to re-evaluation.
“I’m just a week from surgery. We said we’ll re-evaluate my situation weeks out, six to eight weeks, and we’ll talk about it then. But I’m not in a rush,” Lillard said. “My number one goal is to win a championship. I’ve got to be in the best form of myself to make that happen and to be a part of that. So I’m not in a rush. We’ll talk about whatever that timeline is when we get to that point.”
While Lillard won’t be making any hasty decisions regarding his comeback, his return will also be determined by the Blazers’ position and whether they will be seriously competing. Portland is currently 19 – 26 and in 10th place in the Western Conference standings. They are 2-1 after CJ McCollum’s return and can improve their position in the rest of the regular season.