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REPORT: Trevor Ariza opting out of Orlando return

Blazers, Trevor Ariza

Portland Trail Blazers swingman Trevor Ariza is the latest player to announce his decision to opt out of the NBA restart in Orlando.

Ariza’s decision is deeply personal and unrelated to the coronavirus pandemic or advocacy against racial injustice. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Ariza has been embroiled in a custody battle with the mother of his 12-year old son, and he is understandably choosing to commit to a court-ordered one-month visitation window instead of contributing to the Blazers’ playoff hopes.

At it stands, the Blazers (29-37) trail the Memphis Grizzlies (32-33) by 3.5 games for the final seed in the Western Conference. With that said, Ariza’s absence will certainly have a huge impact on their chances to make a run for the last postseason spot in the conference.

Trevor Ariza averaged 11.0 points and 4.8 rebounds in 21 appearances for the Blazers in 2019-20. The veteran began the 2019-20 campaign with the Sacramento Kings before he was dealt to Portland in January (with Wenyen Gabriel and Caleb Swanigan) in exchange for Kent Bazemore, Anthony Tolliver and two second round picks (2024, 2025).

The 34-year-old swingman had started every game since the deal and had become a key cog in the Blazers’ rotation. His experience, versatile defense, and steady shooting will surely be missed by Terry Stotts’ squad — though a healthier roster highlighted by the return of Zach Collins and Jusuf Nurkic should somewhat lessen the blow.

Earlier on Monday, ESPN reported that Washington Wizards sharpshooter Davis Bertans will also sit out the Orlando games. Bertans is in line for a lucrative long-term contract after a breakout season, so he didn’t want to risk anything.