Zach Collins undergoes successful shoulder surgery

Zach Collins undergoes successful shoulder surgery

Portland Trail Blazers forward Zach Collins underwent successful surgery today to repair his left labrum, Neil Olshey, Trail president of basketball operations announced.

The procedure was performed by Dr. Evan Ellis at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver, Washington.

Collins will begin a treatment and rehabilitation process and will be re-evaluated in approximately four months.

Collins left the game against the Mavericks last week after he injured his left shoulder. 

With 2:01 left in the third quarter, Collins went up for a rebound. All things looked normal until he made contact with Luka Doncic. Collins came down and instantly put his right hand over his left shoulder. 

The Blazers will now move forward with life without Collins and an already depleted front court. 


Brotherly advice: Meyers Leonard offers encouragement to Zach Collins
Zach Collins needs labral repair in left shoulder

Portland Mayor vows to make 'Damian Lillard Day' a reality

Portland Mayor vows to make 'Damian Lillard Day' a reality

Monday evening in front of a national television audience, Damian Lillard showed why he's among the best basketball players in the world.

The kid from Oakland scored a career-high 61 points against the Golden State Warriors, the highest total ever from a Portland Trail Blazer. 

Dame's performance impressed everyone: Social media, Evan Turner and even Portland Mayor, Ted Wheeler. 

The politician tweeted his announcement the morning following Lillard's stellar display of shooting. Given the impact and admiration Lillard has earned from Rip City, it was just a matter of time until he got a day dedicated in his honor. 

Some Blazers fans agreed with the mayor's call.

Next up, Damian Lillard and the Blazers will host the Dallas Mavericks at 7:00 p.m. at the Moda Center on Thursday.

Evan Turner thinks a street should be named after Damian Lillard

Evan Turner thinks a street should be named after Damian Lillard

To end the slate of nationally televised games for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Damian Lillard saved the best for last.

The franchise star scored a career-high and franchise-record 61 points against the Golden State Warriors to will Portland to an overtime victory.

The whole country took notice, as did Dame's former teammate Evan Turner.

I don't know about you, but a high school named after Lillard would immediately become the go-to school to attend in Portland. If that's too much, a street name is the least the city can do for Portland's most beloved son. 

Turner and Lillard were teammates from 2015-2019 until he was traded to Atlanta in exchange for Kent Bazemore this past offseason. 

Current and former teammates CJ McCollum and Meyers Leonard found Turner's tweet as funny as the rest of us.

What do you say Rip City?

The Blazers need Biggie, and Biggie needs the Blazers

The Blazers need Biggie, and Biggie needs the Blazers

On Tuesday morning the Trail Blazers officially announced their long-rumored trade with the Sacramento Kings

Kent Bazemore and Anthony Tolliver are gone, while Trevor Ariza, Caleb Swanigan, and Wenyen Gabriel are on their way Portland.

The Blazers know what they are getting in Ariza: a solid veteran player that has made his entire career on the defensive side of the ball. Coach Stotts anticipates that Ariza will be the team's starting small forward, as many of us expected. 

But what about Gabriel and Swanigan? 

Let's start with Gabriel. He is a largely unknown commodity. In his first year in the league, after spending time in the G-League, Gabriel has played in just 11 games for the Kings. 

In those games, he has averaged 1.7 points, 0.9 rebounds, and 0.3 assists in 5.5 minutes per game.

He is another Moses Brown. A big body with potential, but still very raw and rough around the edges. Most likely, he will be an end-of-the-bench guy. 

That is the quick rundown on Gabriel. Now, what about Swanigan?

First, remember that Swanigan has been in Portland before and that stint didn't work out. 

He was drafted by the Blazers in 2017, failed to crack the rotation, and was later traded to the Kings in return for Skal Labissiere. 

Swanigan played 45 games for the Blazers, averaging 2.1 points, 2.4 rebounds and 0.5 assists per game. Swanigan's stint in Sacramento was much the same. He failed to crack the rotation, playing in just 10 games while averaging 1.3. points, 1.9 rebounds, and 0.6 assists. 

To be fair to Swanigan, getting on the floor wasn't easy. He is a versatile player that can play power forward or center in small lineups, but he still had an uphill battle.

In Portland, he was buried behind the likes of Jusuf Nurkic, Al-Farouq Aminu, Noah Vonleh, Ed Davis, and Zach Collins.

In Sacramento, he was buried behind Dewayne Demon, Nemanja Bjelica. Richaun Holmes, Harry Giles, and Willie Cauley-Stein.

Getting on the floor wasn't easy. That's not the case in his second stop here in Portland. 

As we all know, injuries have ravaged the Blazers, especially in the frontcourt. 

The Blazers don't have Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins, Skal Labissiere, or Pau Gasol available.  

In fact, the Blazers now only have four players available that are 6'9" or taller: Hassan Whiteside (7'0"), two-way player Moses Brown (7'2"), and the newly-acquired Gabriel and Swanigan who both stand at 6'9."

Quite simply, Swanigan is going to get on the floor out of necessity. 

If the team were fully healthy, Swanigan would once again find himself on the bottom looking up. This time, he gets to start near the top.

The Blazers have lived by a "next man up" mentality all season long, and this time they had to go outside of Portland to find that next man. 

If Swanigan hopes to turn it around, to resurrect his career, there is no better chance than what the Blazers are giving him. 

To use a football analogy -  The ball is on the one-yard-line and the team is choosing to hand the ball off to Swanigan. What he does from there is up to him. When someone gives you the ball, you run with it.

He either runs through the door of opportunity that has been opened, or he runs himself back out of town... hopefully it's the former. 

The Blazers need Biggie, and Biggie needs the Blazers. The chance for both of them to turn their season around starts on Thursday against the Mavericks. 

The Trail Blazers' schedule since Christmas Day has been exhausting

The Trail Blazers' schedule since Christmas Day has been exhausting

The Trail Blazers have two days off before they play again Thursday night at home against Dallas.

OK, so what?

Well, I'll tell you what. It's the first time Portland has had two days in a row without a game since Christmas Day, and that's ridiculous. This team has played every other day for 26 straight days -- except last weekend when it had to play back-to-back road games at Dallas and Oklahoma City. That's been 14 games in 26 days with very little recovery time in between games.

At best, it's been monotonous. At worst, it's been extremely exhausting.

And nine of those games were played on the road, including a killer five-game north-south swing through the east that featured games at New York, Washington, D,C., Miami, Toronto and Minneapolis.

And after that long trip, the Blazers returned home and had just one day off before playing again -- which is not normal NBA procedure. Usually, after a 10-day road trip, a team would get two days without a game before playing again.

It's no wonder that there was susceptibility to cold and flu -- even on charter planes, travel can wear your resistance down.

But just to show how crazy the schedule is, the Blazers now get two consecutive days off prior to each of their next three home games.

Go figure.

Trevor Ariza will "probably" start for Trail Blazers... as he should

Trevor Ariza will "probably" start for Trail Blazers... as he should

The Trail Blazers made their trade with the Kings official Tuesday morning, which means people like Terry Stotts can finally talk about it. 

Portland traded for Trevor Ariza and Wenyen Gabriel and forward/center Caleb Swanigan from the Sacramento Kings in exchange for Kent Bazemore, Anthony Tolliver and two second round draft picks. 

The biggest name included in the deal and the player that will have the most impact and production for the Blazers is Trevor Ariza. 

While the roles of Gabriel and Swanigan will be small, Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts has greater plans with the former NBA Champion small forward.

"Trevor Ariza will probably be our starting small forward," Terry Stotts said on NBC Sports Northwest's simulcast show of 620 Rip City Radio's Dan & Nigel in the Mornings. "He has great experience. He has been in his career a very good defender. He’s a good three point shooter, so he’ll be able to space. His experience will blend really well with the starters. He’s a good guy. I think he’ll be a great fit for us."

This shouldn't come as a surprise. With Rodney Hood sidelined for the season with a torn Achillies and the vacancy left by Kent Bazemore as the replacement starter, Ariza was the presumptive choice at SF. The Blazers don't have a more viable option other than Ariza starting at small forward.

Ariza (6-8, 215) has averaged 6.0 points (38.8% FG, 35.2% 3-PT, 77.8% FT), 4.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.09 steals and 24.7 minutes in 32 games for the Kings this season. A 15-year veteran and 2009 NBA Champion with the L.A. Lakers, Ariza, 34, holds career averages of 10.5 points (42.2% FG, 35.1% 3-PT, 72.9% FT), 4.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.49 steals in 1,043 games (710 starts) with New York, Orlando, the L.A. Lakers, Houston, New Orleans, Washington, Phoenix and Sacramento. Ariza was originally selected by the New York Knicks with the 43rd overall pick of the 2004 NBA Draft after playing one season at UCLA.

NBCS Kings Insider James Ham weighed in on the type of player the Trail Blazers are getting in Ariza:

“Ariza signed a two-year, $25 million deal in the offseason to provide veteran leadership and depth at the forward position. The final year is only guaranteed for $1.8 million, making him slightly more than an expiring contract for Portland. He was a calming influence on the Kings younger players, especially on the defensive end. He's not as mobile as he once was and his 3-point shot goes on the fritz at inopportune times, but he’s a solid player that can help replace some of the defense that the Blazers lost during the offseason with the departures of Moe Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu.” 

He will wear No. 8 for the Trail Blazers.

OFFICIAL: Trail Blazers acquire Trevor Ariza, Wenyen Gabriel and Caleb Swanigan from Sacramento

OFFICIAL: Trail Blazers acquire Trevor Ariza, Wenyen Gabriel and Caleb Swanigan from Sacramento

In a deal that is days in the making, the Portland Trail Blazers announced that they have officially acquired forwards Trevor Ariza and Wenyen Gabriel and forward/center Caleb Swanigan from the Sacramento Kings in exchange for Kent Bazemore, Anthony Tolliver and two second round draft picks. 

“We are pleased to add Trevor, Caleb and Wenyen to our roster,” said Olshey via a team release. “Trevor’s veteran experience and positional fit, Caleb’s familiarity with our organization and Wenyen’s potential will be strong mid-season additions to our team.

Ariza (6-8, 215) has averaged 6.0 points (38.8% FG, 35.2% 3-PT, 77.8% FT), 4.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.09 steals and 24.7 minutes in 32 games for the Kings this season. A 15-year veteran and 2009 NBA Champion with the L.A. Lakers, Ariza, 34, holds career averages of 10.5 points (42.2% FG, 35.1% 3-PT, 72.9% FT), 4.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.49 steals in 1,043 games (710 starts) with New York, Orlando, the L.A. Lakers, Houston, New Orleans, Washington, Phoenix and Sacramento. Ariza was originally selected by the New York Knicks with the 43rd overall pick of the 2004 NBA Draft after playing one season at UCLA. He will wear No. 8 for the Trail Blazers.

Gabriel (6-9, 220) has appeared in 11 games for the Kings this season, averaging 1.7 points (35.3% FG, 60.0% FT) and 0.9 rebounds. In seven games this season with the Stockton Kings of the NBA G League, Gabriel, 22, has averaged 19.3 points (50.1% FG, 39.0% 3-PT, 77.1% FT), 6.9 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.20 blocks. A second-year pro, Gabriel went undrafted in 2018 after two seasons at the University of Kentucky. He will wear No. 35 for the Trail Blazers.

In seven appearances with the Kings this season, Swanigan (6-9, 260) has averaged 0.7 points (50.0% FG, 50.0% FT) and 1.0 rebound. He has played in five games (two starts) this season with the Stockton Kings, averaging 8.6 points (50.0% FG, 72.7% FT), 10.0 rebounds and 1.4 assists. Originally selected by the Trail Blazers with the 26th overall pick of the 2017 NBA Draft, Swanigan, 22, holds career averages of 2.0 points (37.6% FG, 65.5% FT) and 2.3 rebounds in 55 games (three starts) with Sacramento and Portland. He will wear No. 50 for the Trail Blazers.

The deal was done, in part, to save the Trail Blazers $12.3M in luxury tax. 

The Trail Blazers acquired Bazemore from Atlanta on June 24, 2019. In 43 games (21 starts) with Portland this season, Bazemore averaged 7.9 points (34.7% FG, 32.7% 3-PT, 80.6% FT), 4.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.05 steals. His deal was set to expire at the end of the season.

Tolliver signed with Portland on July 3, 2019. He appeared In 33 games (nine starts) for the Trail Blazers this season, averaging 3.9 points (36.8% FG, 33.7% 3-PT, 68.4% FT), 3.3 rebounds and 0.9 assists. 

The Trail Blazers will likely have their new players in uniform Thursday vs. the Mavericks. 


Lillard's leadership guides the Blazers through trying season

Lillard's leadership guides the Blazers through trying season

Before he even ate lunch on Monday Damian Lillard knew it was going to be a special day.

“It wasn’t about the points, it was just the mentality,” Lillard said after breaking his own franchise record and scoring 61 points, including 11 three-pointers in an overtime win over the Golden State Warriors. “We walked through shootaround and did everything we needed to do. Even when I went home after shootaround it just one of those days. When I came here, I wasn’t coming here to lose this game and it was as simple as that.”

With a performance for the ages, Lillard dragged the Blazers to an overtime win with the type of night that garners well deserved superlatives and sends media members to Basketball-Reference to try to put an all-time game in perspective.

Lillard was locked in early and even if he had a notion that he was headed for a dominant night, he let his demeanor do the talking.

“I don’t come in the huddle and say, ‘We’re not losing today!’ It’s more like when the game starts they feel my vibe,” Lillard said. “They feel the energy to how I typically interact to how interact when it’s one of those nights. I think that’s the only way to explain it.”

When the face of the franchise scores 61 points, it’s natural to talk about leadership and tone setting, adding intangible traits to help capture the on court heroics. Certainly Lillard was the leader and tone setter on Monday, but importantly he also was on Saturday night in Oklahoma City and he still will be when the Blazers take the practice court on Wednesday morning. 

His leadership has been celebrated for seasons, singled out for helping his teams overachieve and getting the most out of his teammates. But perhaps no season has better encapsulated Lillard’s strengths as a leader than this one where the Blazers are injured and scuffling and but haven’t fractured or packed it in.

“He’s very consistent on the court and off the court,” Carmelo Anthony said. “Guys follow. That’s the case right now.”


Before he joined the Blazers, Anthony had heard the stories of Lillard as a leader and a winner. He was drawn to that early, but the way Lillard welcomed him in quickly and earnestly was eye opening. 

“He just opened his house up to me,” Anthony said. “This is his home. He opened it up to me. He made me feel wanted. He made me feel appreciated in here. When you have that and somebody opens their home up to you like that, that’s a special person.”

Lillard said he made a concerted effort to make sure Anthony was comfortable on the court when he first arrived. They talked about where Anthony wanted the ball and how that would look in their offense while maintaining a balance alongside Lillard and CJ McCollum. 
Beyond Xs and Os, Lillard has been inquisitive, probing Anthony for wisdom gleaned through 16-plus NBA seasons.

“We talk all the time,” Anthony said. “Basketball-wise just how to deal with certain things. How to deal with being the face of a franchise. Everything is on his shoulders. We talk about that. He asks a lot of questions. We discuss it, and he wants to know what that’s like and he wants to be better.”

That willingness and eagerness to listen and learn from a veteran with a shinier resume and more global cache impressed Anthony. It’s believable that Lillard commands a locker room full of his peers, and a roster dotted with first and second year players. But to welcome in a future Hall of Famer and make him feel comfortable while also leaning on him for feedback showed Lillard’s real strength. He has an innate gift for understanding how to reach people in different ways and an authenticity that makes those interactions feel natural.


Whether it’s 34-year-old Carmelo Anthony or 20-year-old Anfernee Simons, Lillard can forge a real connection. 

“I can come to him about anything,” Simons said. “Whenever I have problems with stuff he comes let’s me know ‘Just be who you are.’ I kinda carry that throughout my game no matter what happens.”

Lillard didn’t wait until Simons was a rotational mainstay to start offering guidance. Just months into Simons’ rookie season Lillard introduced him to Phil Beckner, Lillard’s trainer and former coach at Weber State.

Lillard wanted to show Simons how to work like a professional, which included training beyond a typical NBA practice. This season, with Simons getting real minutes for the first time, it isn’t uncommon for he and Lillard to come back to the Blazers practice facility at night on an off day and go through an hour-long workout with Beckner. 

One of the reasons the Blazers didn’t want to send Simons to the G League for extended stints last season is so he could be around Lillard, and see what All-Star level preparation looked liked.

“You see it first hand from him,” Simons said. “So you just kinda learn it as you’re watching. Even last year when he was playing a lot of minutes the night before he would come in the next day after practice and still get in his work. Just seeing that made me want to work harder because even though I wasn’t playing last year I thought to myself ‘He’s playing all these minutes (and still working) then I should be doing the same.”


Perhaps no player on the Blazers roster has tested Lillard’s leadership abilities this season quite like Hassan Whiteside, Portland’s talented but flawed center.

The Blazers desperately need the best of Whiteside each night to have a chance, which is why Lillard has spent the season trying to coax consistent high-level play from Portland’s biggest offseason acquisition. There was a feeling out period particularly on offense as Lillard and Whiteside searched for better chemistry in pick and rolls. There have been obvious moments of frustration on both sides, but nothing that has escalated beyond a quick back and forth on the bench. 

Lillard had gotten the most out of a castoff big man before. But unlike Jusuf Nurkic, who was much younger and more impressionable when he arrived in Portland, Whiteside was 30 years old, a seven-year veteran with ingrained habits and preferences. So while Lillard will get on Whiteside for miscues here and there he understands where the lines are in their relationship.

“He’s just a calm guy regardless of whatever happened you know he never tries to show you up on the court,” Whiteside says. “He never tries to make his teammates look bad. He can easily turn the ball over and it can be someone else's fault -- and I’m not going to say no names -- but there’s guys around the league that will be like, “Ahhh man!” He don’t do that. He don’t try to show up nobody. He’s a great guy.”

It’s that balance and consistency which Lillard brings every day that Whiteside has come to appreciate.

Anthony, Simons and Whiteside are perfect examples of Lillard’s shapeshifting leadership abilities. But he does it across the roster, regularly sending texts to his teammates to check in on how they’re feeling and keeping them engaged. That’s not a new development by any means, it’s been a part of Lillard’s leadership approach for years, but during a trying season it has been particularly valuable.

The Blazers trust Lillard implicitly and explicitly. He picks his spots to speak up in the locker room, and when to duck out quietly. He knows what buttons to press and when he can lean on guys and when to give them space. 

Behind the scenes Lillard has been consistent with his messaging, preaching that the team has been in this position and rallied from a seemingly lost year to make the playoffs. He believes the Blazers will end up in the postseason, and hasn’t wavered from that even as the team has been struck by injuries and the losses have piled up.

So on Monday night when Lillard took over the game and carried the Blazers back from late deficits in the fourth quarter and again in overtime, the Blazers followed their leader. Not just because he was having an all-time great game but because he has laid the foundation all season long that they can place their trust in him.

“You show that belief in your actions, your body language, your attitude all the time,” Lillard said. “So it’s not like I was having a good game tonight so everybody believed because I believed. It’s like they know my disposition all the time. They know my attitude and personality all the time. So I think that’s the personality of our team. We always think we have a chance regardless or what our record is or anything like that, and that’s just who I am.”

Morning After: Everything you may have missed from the Blazers win over the Warriors

Morning After: Everything you may have missed from the Blazers win over the Warriors

The Blazers returned home after a brief 1-2 road trip and were welcomed by the Golden State Warriors.

The Blazers, once again with limited bodies, started Anferenee Simons and Nassir Little, and even Moses Brown got a small run. 

But for all the makeshift lineups and crazy rotations, there was only one player to watch on this night: Damian Lillard

Lillard absolutely went off against the Warriors.

He hit a franchise-record 11 threes en route to scoring a franchise record 61 points! 

The outburst broke the team's previous record of 60 points, set by Damian Lillard earlier this season.  

It was also the most points scored by a single player in the NBA this season, and the most points ever scored by a player on MLK Day. 

The performance even prompted Coach Stotts to give Lillard the game ball, and if you know Stotts, you know he rarely hands out a game ball. 

Needless to say, this game was a big deal. 

The Blazers needed every single one of Lillard's points, as they struggled to keep pace with the Warriors. In fact, the Blazers trailed by double-digits for large chunks of the game. 

But once the clock struck Lillard Time, it was all over. 

It may have taken overtime and a record-breaking night from Lillard, but the Blazers picked up a much-needed win. 

Final Score: Blazers 129 - Warriors 124


Hassan Whiteside on Damian Lillard:

It's amazing. Dame played amazing. I just told him to keep shooting, even when you miss, just keep shooting, I’m going to keep trying to get you open with these screens so keep shooting.

Coach Stotts on the Victory:

It was an outstanding win. Finding a way to win a game like that, obviously, both teams were a little undermanned, but you kind of run out of adjectives for Damian (Lillard) and his performance, the way he carried the team, not just on the court but in the huddles, time outs, half time, his leadership was great, and like I said you run out of adjectives, he’s an amazing player.

Damian Lillard on his record-setting game:

I mean, it’s one of the best of my career so I mean, I think that’s what it means, one of my better performances in a game we needed to win. I think that’s just what it is. We needed a win tonight. It would have been a tough one for us to give up. We’ve got a good home stretch of games, a good opportunity to get some wins against some tough teams on our home floor so it was necessary and it was on time. On to the next one now. A great performance. I’m excited about it, I’m happy about it but I wish it counted for three wins instead of one



Instant Analysis: Damian Lillard drops 61 in Blazers OT win over Warriors

Even Stephen Curry watched in awe of Damian Lillard

Social media lost its collective mind on Damian Lillard's career night 

Sounds like Trail Blazers dodged a bullet with Anfernee Simons' rolled ankle 

Hassan Whiteside wanted those free throws.... real bad

Terry Stotts breaks with tradition after Damian Lillard's career night

By the numbers: Damian Lillard in rarefied air after career night 

By the numbers: Damian Lillard in rarefied air after career night

By the numbers: Damian Lillard in rarefied air after career night

On a day where we honored Dr. Martin Luther King, Damian Lillard gave his best performance.

Career-high 61 points, check. Most points by a player this season, check. An MLK Day record, check. Career-high and franchise record 11 three pointers, beating his own record, check. 

We marvel in the greatness that is Damian Lillard, and these numbers make his accomplishment that much more impressive: 

And perhaps the greatest stat of them all...? The Trail Blazers got the win!