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Will NBA players keep to the bubble? Damian Lillard doubts it

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Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0) brings the ball up court during the first half of the team’s NBA basketball game against the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020, in Memphis, Tenn.

Brandon Dill, AP

SALT LAKE CITY — Earlier this month on June 16, the NBA sent out a in-depth manual to every one of its players, detailing exactly what life was going to be like inside the Orlando bubble when the season started up again.

The manual included a six-phase outline, according to reports, filled with rules and protocols the league expected every participating player to follow to the letter.

With the restart of the season drawing ever closer — the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans will kick off play on July 30 — questions have been raised as to whether or not players are willing and/or able to follow the regulations provided by the NBA. Is it even reasonable to believe that 22 teams could and would follow the rules?

In an interview with ESPN’s Royce Young on Wednesday, Portland Trail Blazers star and Weber State alumnus Damian Lillard expressed some serious doubts.

“My confidence ain’t great,” Lillard told Young. “My confidence ain’t great because you’re telling me you’re gonna have 22 teams full of players following all the rules? When we have 100 percent freedom, everybody don’t follow all the rules. I don’t have much confidence. But hopefully it’ll be handled to a point where we’re not putting everybody at risk or in a dangerous position.”

For his part, Lillard expects to stick to the regulations, relying on mostly on basketball itself.

“I know there’re going to activities for us and all that stuff, but I mean, I’m gonna be chilling,” he said. “I feel like there’s still a possibility for something to spread within that bubble, just with so many people doing so many different things that we’ve got to follow to be safe, even though we’re not exposed to the public. So for me, it’s going to be: What time is practice, what time can I get in the weight room, what time can I get some shots up, what’s the plan for game day. And then I’m gonna be in the room. I’m gonna have my PS3, my PS4, I’m gonna have my studio equipment, my mic, my laptop, I’m gonna have all my books. That’s it, man. I’m gonna be in the room, chilling.”