Portland Trail Blazers forward Trevor Ariza has opted for a one-month visitation with his child over participating in the NBA’s late-July restart in Orlando
The Portland Trail Blazers were dealt some unfortunate news on Monday when ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Trevor Ariza will not travel with the team to Orlando for the late-July restart. Instead, the 34-year-old veteran has understandably chosen to take advantage of a one-month visitation period with his son.
Per the report, Ariza has been embroiled in a custody dispute over his 12-year-old son, whose mother has chosen to permit a court-ordered visitation that will only be available during the league’s resumption window.
Based on whether Portland reaches the playoffs, Ariza’s parenting commitment could reportedly result in him forfeiting between $1 million and $1.8 million of his rest-of-season salary.
Ariza’s absence will be a crucial blow for a Trail Blazers team that has yet to qualify for the postseason and will need to emerge victorious in a play-in tournament in order to do so. The 6’8″, 215 lbs slasher has become a key cog in head coach Terry Stotts’ rotation after Portland acquired him in a trade with the Sacramento Kings back in February.
The UCLA product has started all of his 21 games with the team, across which he’s averaged 11 points and 4.8 rebounds with .491/.400/.872 shooting splits in a little less than 34 minutes per.
He figured to remain a regular in the starting lineup that was set to be at full strength for the first time all year following the long-awaited returns of frontcourt tandem Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins. Now, you have to assume that Carmelo Anthony, who was logging 32.5 minutes per game in his 50 appearances (all starts) before the season was suspended, will be called into a bigger role for Rip City.
This has pretty much been the story of the 2019-20 campaign for Portland — as soon as one player seemed poised to return from a lengthy spell on the sidelines, another is forced to miss a significant period of time. Surprisingly enough, however, the Trail Blazers weren’t bitten sternly by the injury bug this time around. If there’s a silver lining to be had here, it’s that Portland will have now have the luxury of signing a substitute player to replace Ariza.
You can go right ahead and add this to the laundry list of buzzkills that Stotts has been forced to overcome this year. He will now need to reach even deeper into his bag of tricks to help keep Damian Lillard and Co. afloat in Disney World for as long as humanly possible.