The Trail Blazers made waves on Saturday by executing a five-player trade with the Kings that sent Trevor Ariza to Portland. Ariza, a 34-year-old veteran, has navigated the NBA landscape for over a decade as a two-way forward.
Regardless of his reduced production in the latter stages of his career, Lillard expressed measured optimism about Ariza’s addition. Lillard spoke with The Oregonian’s Jamie Goldberg following Saturday’s loss to the Thunder.
“I think he can really help us,” Lillard said. “I think the situation that we’re in, 18-26, not where we planned on being, things haven’t been working out, we haven’t been winning a lot of games. His experience, his skillset – 3-and-D, he can guard, pretty much, four positions – and his size. It gives us something we can really use and hopefully, it can really help us.”
Outside of Ariza, the Blazers will also welcome back Caleb Swanigan. Following a 30-point outburst, Gary Trent Jr. revealed his excitement over Swanigan’s return.
“It’s crazy,” Blazers second-year guard Gary Trent Jr. said. “My rookie year, I played Biggie basically 1-on-1 before every game. I’m glad to have him back. For the new teammates too, I can’t wait to get to know them as well.”
Outside of the welcoming messages, Lillard reflected on the departures of Kent Bazemore and Anthony Tolliver.
“It’s sad to see those guys go,” Lillard said. “But you got new guys coming in and you don’t want to lose sight of the fact that it’s a business and make guys who are coming in not feel welcome. That’s why I’m always in the middle because I’m always going to welcome new teammates, but it’s always sad to see guys you build a relationship with go.”
The trade between the Blazers and Kings becomes official on Tuesday. You can read Goldberg’s full story at The Oregonian.