The Portland Trail Blazers made two massive trades this offseason, first sending Damian Lillard to the Milwaukee Bucks in a three-team deal that was headlined, from a Blazers perspective, by Deandre Ayton. Just days later, Portland flipped another piece of that deal, Jrue Holiday, to the Boston Celtics in return for a few first-round picks, Malcolm Brogdon and Robert Williams III.
Ayton, Brogdon and Toumani Camara, who came along for the ride from Phoenix, saw preseason action for the Trail Blazers. Williams is the only on-court piece of the return general manager Joe Cronin received in the Lillard mega-trade that has yet to don a Rip City jersey.
Is Robert Williams III making his Trail Blazers debut against the Clippers?
According to Sean Highkin of The Rose Garden Report, Williams is going to play his first minutes as a Blazer in the 2023-24 season opener.
The 25-year-old center, who has a lengthy NBA injury history, was held out for the preseason but is more than ready for his debut.
“They wanted to be cautious,” Williams said via Highkin. “I disagreed with them. I always want to play.”
The former Celtic is full-go, and Portland Head Coach Chauncey Billups is ready to have one of the league’s best and most explosive defenders available off the bench for the first game of the post-Lillard era.
“I’m excited to have Rob back. He brings a lot to our team. He has a great presence out there. He has a big voice. He talks a ton. His IQ is really next-level. In my experience, playing with bigs with a high IQ makes the game easier on both sides. He’s one of the best passers that we have on our team. And defensively, he’s disruptive.”
Full injury report, lineup updates for Blazers vs. Clippers
The full injury report for Portland’s 2023-24 season opener in LA is as follows:
LA Clippers injury report:
- Out: Terance Mann, ankle
- Day-to-day: Bones Hyland, ankle
Portland Trail Blazers injury report:
- Out: Ish Wainright, calf