Portland Trail Blazers buyout candidate two – Trevor Ariza
Hear me out on this one. Trevor Ariza may have been the best small forward that’s played for the Blazers in years. Though it was just a 20-game stretch, Ariza was a perfect fit next to Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, because of his complementary skill set.
Because of his age, the Blazers upgraded to Robert Covington in the off-season. Covington is a better help defender at both the rim and in passing lanes, but doesn’t have the ball skills of Ariza.
The Blazers have had very few two-way players at the small forward position over the years. With the injuries to basically every member of the starting five bar Lillard, they could do with a reliable three and d player.
Ariza, in these 20 odd games for the Blazers, shot 49, 40 and 87 on 11 points a game, while playing stellar defense. He was a great addition.
Currently on the roster, the three and d players are Covington, and Gary Trent Jr. Though both are great players in their own right, neither is the man defender of small forwards like Ariza is. Yes, he may have taken a step back in terms of speed and athleticism, but tell me how many six-foot-eight small forwards with championship experience there are on the market?
Ariza is actually on the Oklahoma City Thunder now, after he was traded four times within a few weeks. He hasn’t played a game for them yet, as he sits out while I can only assume his agent finds him a new home, where he can assist a contender.
He didn’t leave the Blazers on bad terms, so there’s no reason he couldn’t end up here. Though they will have more depth when everyone returns from injury, if there is long-term pain in terms of injuries or poor play, then Ariza could be a solution.