Portland Trail Blazers

Portland Trail Blazers

It was exactly 345 days since the reported trade that sent Caleb Swanigan to Sacramento to the reported trade that sent Biggie back to Portland. 

Swanigan, a 6-9 forward out of Purdue, was selected by the Trail Blazers in the 2017 NBA Draft with the 26th overall pick.

Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard is happy to see Biggie return to Portland. 

“It’s pretty cool,” Lillard said after Saturday’s loss to the Thunder. “I think his time here – he was young, he really wanted to play, wanted to help, but it didn’t work out, so I know he was frustrated by that."

Swanigan played in 45 games before being traded to Sacramento for Skal Labissiere at the 2019 trade deadline.

But, before he departed Rip City he developed special bonds with his teammates, especially the younger players.

On a night where Gary Trent, Jr. went off and scored a career-high 30 points against OKC, he also reminisced about playing alongside Swanigan.

The two had a pregame routine.

“My rookie year, I played Biggie basically one-on-one before every game. I’m glad to have him back… For the new teammates, too, I can’t wait to meet them, as well,” Trent Jr. said.

Much has already been made about Swanigan’s story.

At just 22 years old, there's no question, Biggie has been through a lot.

Growing up, Swanigan moved between Utah and Indiana while spending part of his youth in homeless shelters.

The power forward has discussed how he developed bad eating habits in high school that caused him to gain a lot of weight making it harder to play basketball.

 

He then got let go by the team that took a chance on him after just 45 games.

Watching the young fella go through that, Lillard believes that situation has most likely helped Swanigan grow as a player and as a person.

“At the time he probably felt like he needed a change and felt like he was going to go somewhere and get more opportunity. In SAC it didn’t work out,” Lillard said. 

I think he’ll come back and it’ll be refreshing for him to be back in a good environment, somewhere where he has been so it’ll be comfortable, and we dealing with all these injuries, so it’s going to be a lot of opportunity here for him. – Trail Blazers All-Star point guard Damian Lillard on Caleb Swanigan

This season, Swanigan appeared in just 10 games with Sacramento. He has spent a majority of his time with the G-League’s Stockton Kings where he averaged 8.6 points, 9.4 rebounds, and 1.2 blocks per game in 19.7 mintues.

According to NBCS Kings Insider James Ham, the Blazers will be getting back a leaner Swanigan. Biggie is as much as 40 pounders smaller than he was when he left Portland.

With Saturday’s trade not being made official until Tuesday, it’s still unclear whether Swanigan will be in Portland's long-term plans or if he may be included in any future dealings.

But for right now, Lillard wants to set the record straight about his teammates' attitude, which can seem gruff, at times.  

“Biggie’s a really good dude," Lillard said. "Just misunderstood sometimes, but I think it’s a great opportunity for him especially because he’s been here before and we actually need big bodies.”

That they do.

Portland announced Sunday that they have recalled center Moses Brown from the G-League’s Texas Legends.

The Blazers host the Warriors Monday night before the trade of Swanigan, Trevor Ariza, and Wenyen Gabriel becomes official Tuesday.