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Damian Lillard Won't Play Unless Blazers Have Shot At Playoffs

May 26, 2020 10:56 AM

Damian Lillard will refuse to play if the NBA resumes the 19-20 season with the Portland Trail Blazers unable to reach the playoffs.

"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," Lillard told Yahoo Sports on Tuesday morning via phone.

The Blazers are29-37 and in the No. 9 spot in the Western Conference trailing the Memphis Grizzlies by 3.5 games.

"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," Lillard told Yahoo Sports. "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."

If the Blazers do have an opportunity to reach the playoffs, Lillard is optimistic about their odds.

"It would suck not to get in the playoffs because our thing was, we had fought ourselves back into position to get a spot," Lillard told Yahoo Sports. "We had our starting center and starting power forward coming back, so we had a lot to look forward to and for a great reason. Now, they're healthy and have extra time to train and rehab while everybody's rusty. So now, they won't be coming back as the only rusty players. And if everybody's rusty, [expletive], we can come in here and beat everybody. I do feel like if we do come back and our mind is right, we can beat anyone. It's going to be hard to get going with no fans, you've been off all this time and some people are just ready for summer like, ‘[Expletive] it, I haven't played in a long time and the season is basically over to me. Do I really care like I cared before?' It's going to be a lot of those factors going on and that presents a lot of room for a team to sneak some [expletive]. Like, really mess around and knock some teams off and then, 'Oh, they're in the Western Conference finals.' It's room for that with this situation. So the fact that it's possible and we wouldn't get an opportunity at that, that's weak to me. I ain't getting no younger."

Chris Haynes/Yahoo! Sports

Tags: Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers, NBA

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CJ McCollum On Returning To Practice Facility On Friday: 'It's Either Safe Or It's Not'

May 8, 2020 1:24 AM

CJ McCollum addressed his thoughts on returning to the Portland Trail Blazers practice facility on Friday, saying that at some point, the league has to decide whether it's safe to resume games.

“I get the measures [the league is] taking, but you have to think at some point when there are drastic measures that need to be taken, ‘Is it really worth it?’ It’s either safe or it’s not. … And let’s just be honest, man, it’s not like it will be the first time players got gym access outside of the team’s facilities. Some people have been working out," McCollum told Chris Haynes of Yahoo! Sports.

The Blazers are one of a handful of teams that will open up their facilities on Friday.

The Lakers and Mavs are among teams that will hold off.

McCollum also addressed various stipulations with the return, with coaches and players required to stand 12 feet apart. 

“You can’t use certain stuff, can’t do certain stuff. Now they’re talking about you might have to be 12 feet away from your strength coach. How are you going to lift 12 feet away from somebody?”

Chris Haynes/Yahoo! Sports

Tags: C.J. McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers

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Blazers, Cavs, Nuggets Will Re-Open Facilities On May 8th; Lakers, Mavs To Wait For Further Clearance

May 7, 2020 1:33 AM

The NBA has informed teams that they can re-open their practice facilities on May 8th if their city has loosened restrictions on social distancing.

The Cavs, Nuggets, and Blazers are among teams who will re-open their facilities.

J.B. Bickerstaff said that Cavs coaches will wear masks and gloves, with players and coaches required to stand 12 feet apart.

The Mavs and Lakers, meanwhile, will hold off on re-opening their facilities.

Los Angeles currently has a stay-at-home policy until May 15th. Frank Vogel did not have a firm date on when the Lakers would return, but said he was not concerned by certain teams returning early from a competitive standpoint.

"There's a competitive balance element to this that I personally am not really all that concerned about. I think we're still a long way away from returning to play," said Vogel.

Mark Cuban added that he was not comfortable with the Mavs returning without widespread testing, and that he has no immediate plans to re-open facilities. 

Dave McMenamin/ESPN

Tags: Cleveland Cavaliers, Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Lakers, Portland Trail Blazers, NBA, NBA B-Ball IQ

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Blazers Video Coordinator Zach Cooper Passes Away At 32

Apr 13, 2020 4:31 PM

Portland Trail Blazers video coordinator Zach Cooper has passed away at the age of 32.

The cause of death is unknown at this time.

“This is a heartbreaking loss for the entire Trail Blazers family,” President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey said. “Zach was a positive spirit, a tireless worker and an outstanding teacher. My prayers go out to his family and all who loved him.”

“I am devastated by the news of Zach’s passing,” coach Terry Stotts said. “He was a valued member of staff, but more importantly, he was an outstanding young man who everyone loved and appreciated. Words cannot adequately express my sadness for such a loss.”

Shams Charania/The Athletic

Tags: Portland Trail Blazers, NBA

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Jusuf Nurkic To Practice With G League's Santa Cruz Ahead Of Potential Sunday Return

Mar 10, 2020 1:25 AM

Jusuf Nurkic will practice with the G League's Santa Cruz Warriors ahead of his potential return on Sunday, according to Casey Holdahl.

The Blazers are one of two teams without a G League affiliate.

Nurkic hasn't played since suffering a compound fracture of his tibia and fibula last March.

The Blazers are currently 4.5 games out of the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. 

Casey Holdahl/Blazers

Tags: Jusuf Nurkic, Portland Trail Blazers, NBA, NBA Injury

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CJ McCollum, Alex Len Fined For Shoving Match

Mar 9, 2020 12:54 PM

CJ McCollum and Alex Len have each been fined for their roles in an on-court incident.

The incident, which resulted in technical fouls for both players, occurred with 8:50 remaining in the third quarter of the Kings’ 123-111 win over the Trail Blazers on March 7 at Moda Center.

McCollum has been fined $20,000 for shoving Len and attempting to escalate the altercation. Len has been fined $15,000 for shoving McCollum.

RealGM Staff Report

Tags: Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, NBA, NBA Fines

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Jusuf Nurkic To Makes His Return On March 15th

Mar 6, 2020 3:58 PM

Jusuf Nurkic will make his season debut on March 15th against the Houston Rockets.

“I’m ready to help my team make the playoffs,” Nurkic told Yahoo! Sports. “It’s time.”

Nurkic suffered a compound fracture of his left tibia and fibula in a March 25, 2019 game.

Nurkic returned to practice on Jan. 23.

“I worked my ass off to be in position to get back on the court and help my team, but game speed is going to be different,” Nurkic told Yahoo Sports. “I’m not going to be playing 40 minutes. But for me, mentally, I need to get these reps in before I can play [extended minutes]. Physically, I’m good. I had a calf strain recently, which is normal for the injury I had. I’ve been pleased with where my rehab is going. I never doubted I’d be back, but I had to make sure I was 100 percent. I can’t wait for [March 15].” 

Chris Haynes/Yahoo! Sports

Tags: Jusuf Nurkic, Portland Trail Blazers, NBA, NBA Injury

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Mario Hezonja Fined $25k For Making Inappropriate Contact With Referee

Mar 3, 2020 8:32 PM

Mario Hezonja has been fined $25,000 for making inappropriate contact with a game official.

The incident occurred with 29 seconds remaining in the third quarter of the Trail Blazers’ 130-107 win over the Orlando Magic on March 2 at Amway Center.

RealGM Staff Report

Tags: Mario Hezonja, Portland Trail Blazers, NBA, NBA Fines

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Terry Stotts Expected To Remain With Blazers In 20-21

Feb 25, 2020 11:33 AM

Terry Stotts won't be in danger of being fired as head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers this offseason regardless of whether or not they make the playoffs, according to a source that spoke with Sam Amick of The Athletic.

Stotts led the Blazers to the Western Conference Finals last season and was subsequently signed to an extension through the 21-22 season.

Stotts became head coach of the Blazers in 2012.

Sam Amick/The Athletic

Tags: Portland Trail Blazers, NBA, NBA Misc Rumor

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Damian Lillard Could Miss 3-4 Games With Groin Strain

Feb 21, 2020 1:36 AM

Damian Lillard said he could miss the next 3-4 games with a right groin strain.

Lillard suffered the injury on February 12th against the Grizzlies, keeping him out of the All-Star Game.

The Blazers have 3 home games before starting a 3-game road trip on February 27th. 

ESPN

Tags: Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers, NBA, NBA Injury

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Damian Lillard To Be Re-Evaluated In One Week Following Groin Injury

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Damian Lillard Pulls Out Of All-Star Game With Strained Groin, Will Get MRI On Thursday

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