Blazers’ Damian Lillard explains how Trevor Ariza can help Portland
Veteran swingman Trevor Ariza is now part of the Portland Trail Blazers after being traded from the Sacramento Kings. Star guard Damian Lillard liked the move, noting that Ariza can aid them in lots of things.
Per Blazers reporter Casey Holdahl, Lillard pointed out Ariza’s experience, skillset, and size as his main assets.
“I think he can really help us… Things haven’t been working out, we haven’t been winning a lot of games. His experience, his skill set –3 and D, he can guard, pretty much, four positions — and his size. It gives us something we could really use.”
"I think he can really help us… Things haven't been working out, we haven't been winning a lot of games. His experience, his skill set –3 and D, he can guard, pretty much, four positions — and his size. It gives us something we could really use." — @Dame_Lillard re: Ariza
— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) January 19, 2020
Along with Wendell Gabriel and Caleb Swanigan, Ariza was sent to the Blazers for several players and some draft picks. With the trade, the Blazers’ luxury tax drops to $7 million. It will also create a $7.2 million and a $1.7 million trade exception as part of the deal, both of which will expire next January.
Portland has traded Kent Bazemore and Anthony Tolliver and two second- round picks to Sacramento for Trevor Ariza, Wendell Gabriel and Caleb Swanigan, source tells ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 18, 2020
But apart from financial aspects, the move is seen as an effort by the Blazers to make a mid-season run for the playoffs. After all, they currently sport an 18-26 record for 11th in the West. The Trail Blazers rank 24th in the league in defensive rating (112.1) and Ariza is expected to help the team in this regard.
Though the 34-year-old has jumped from team to team in the last few years, he has retained his value as a savvy veteran, a vocal leader, and a defensive presence. This season, Ariza is fifth among small forwards in Defensive Real Plus-Minus. Hopefully, his presence will be enough to boost the Blazers.