FRIDAY, 4:20pm: Claver has denied the reports that he or his agents requested a trade, Jabari Young of CSNNW.com reports (Twitter links). Claver told Young, “I never said I want to leave the team or I want to leave Portland. The only thing I said is, ‘I want to play. I need to play.’”
WEDNESDAY, 9:35am: Blazers small forward Victor Claver is fed up with his lack of playing time and the Wasserman Media Group client has instructed his agents to help him find a way off the team, according to Fran Escudero of Super Deporte, a media outlet in Claver’s native Spain (translations via Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia and HoopsHype). The 26-year-old would prefer the Blazers trade him to another NBA team, but failing that, there’s a decent chance he’d go back to playing in Europe, Escudero writes.
Claver made it clear last week that he wanted to play but nonetheless expressed an understanding of Portland’s point of view and a willingness to continue patiently working until he received an opportunity for minutes, as he told Jabari Young of CSNNW.com. Still, it’s not the first time that reports have indicated that the former No. 22nd overall pick has become frustrated with his shrinking role with the Blazers, who’ve yet to put him on the floor for a single minute of action this season. Claver last year denied a report that suggested he was thinking about a return to Europe, though he said then that he wanted to see more playing time, and he reiterated that desire this past April. He nonetheless said in May that he wouldn’t seek a buyout of his contract, which runs out after this season, one in which he’s set to make a guaranteed $1.37MM.
The deal is the first NBA pact for Claver, who remained overseas for three seasons after the Blazers drafted him in 2009. He saw 26.1 minutes per game for Valencia, his hometown team, in the last season before he headed to Portland in 2012. He averaged 16.6 MPG as a rookie for the Blazers and 8.8 last season.
Claver is eligible for a trade, and dozens of others around the NBA become trade-eligible on December 15th, a date when trade talk usually picks up leaguewide. The Blazers are over the cap and don’t have a trade exception to help them absorb salary in a complex deal involving Claver, but otherwise they’re fairly flexible, more than $7MM clear of the luxury tax threshold.