With Trevor Ariza unavailable for the NBA’s restart this summer, Damian Lillard thinks the Trail Blazers could opt for a big starting lineup that features Carmelo Anthony at the three (Twitter link via Royce Young of ESPN).
As Jason Quick of The Athletic writes, Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts confirmed that returning center Jusuf Nurkic will reenter the starting lineup alongside Lillard, Anthony, and CJ McCollum. That leaves one starting spot up for grabs, and if Portland goes big, Zach Collins or even Hassan Whiteside could occupy that last spot.
“I haven’t ruled out starting Hassan and Nurk together,” Stotts said when discussing the Trail Blazers’ lineup. “Why not? … It gives you something to write about.”
Stotts, who referred to Ariza as the Trail Blazers’ top perimeter defender, suggested that the team will fill that hole in its rotation with a “by-committee” approach. As Quick details, Anthony, Gary Trent Jr., Mario Hezonja, and Nassir Little could all play a role in that committee.
Here’s more from around the Northwest:
- Thunder forward Andre Roberson, who hasn’t played in an NBA game in two-and-a-half years, has been participating in individual workouts at the club’s practice facility, head coach Billy Donovan told reporters on Wednesday (link via Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman). Roberson’s availability for the restart will be determined after the team sees him in action in five-on-five workouts.
- Chesapeake Energy Corporation, the company that owns the naming rights for the Thunder‘s arena, filed for bankruptcy on Sunday, as Royce Young of ESPN writes. Chesapeake’s agreement with the Thunder runs through the 2022/23 season — it’s not clear how that deal will be affected by the company’s bankruptcy.
- PJ Dozier‘s new deal with the Nuggets is a three-year pact that was completed the team’s using mid-level exception, as Jeff Siegel of Early Bird Rights notes (via Twitter). It features minimum salaries in all three seasons, including about $183K this season and a partial guarantee of $1.2MM in 2020/21, for a total guarantee in the neighborhood of $1.4MM.