Caleb Swanigan

Caleb Swanigan opts out, will not join Trail Blazers for NBA restart

Caleb Swanigan opts out, will not join Trail Blazers for NBA restart

The Portland Trail Blazers will be without Caleb Swanigan as the NBA resumes its 2019-20 regular season at Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

Per Trail Blazers president of basketball operations and general manager Neil Olshey, Swanigan will not join Portland when the NBA restarts. He has decided to withdrawal his name from the NBA’s return to play, citing personal reasons. 

Swanigan joined the Trail Blazers’ big man rotation for a second stint in February when he, along with Trevor Ariza and Wenyen Gabriel, were traded from the Kings in exchange for Kent Bazemore, Anthony Tolliver and two second-round picks. 

The 22-year-old power forward is averaging 3.0 points, 1.5 assists and 0.1 steals in 20 games with one start for Portland. 

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon]

The Blazers will be allowed to sign a replacement for Swanigan’s spot on the roster. Beginning Wednesday, July 1 until August 14, teams in Orlando will continue to be allowed to sign replacement players for anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 or decides to sit out. 

Swanigan isn’t the only Trail Blazer to opt out of participation in the NBA’s restart to the season. Forward Trevor Ariza announced in June that he will not join his team in Orlando because of a one-month visitation window he has with his 12-year-old son. 

The Trail Blazers signed Jaylen Adams from the G-League to replace Ariza. Jaylen Hoard, a two-way player for Portland, will also be in Orlando when play resumes. 

[RELATED: Trevor Ariza is a no-go, where does that leave the Trail Blazers in Orlando?]

Teams will travel to the Disney campus on July 7. The Trail Blazers are currently 3.5 games back from the Grizzlies for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. 

Instant Analysis: Emotions run high for Blazers and Jazz

Instant Analysis: Emotions run high for Blazers and Jazz

SALT LAKE CITY – The intensity level for Friday’s game may have been at an all-time high for both the Trail Blazers and the Jazz.

Fans needed to buckle up for this one!

The Trail Blazers frontcourt depth was even more depleted entering Friday's game. Portland was without starting center Hassan Whiteside (left lower leg contusion) and backup forward Nassir Little (left ankle sprain).

Going with a small-ball lineup was no easy task against Rudy Gobert and the Jazz lengthy perimeter players like Joe Ingles and Bojan Bogdanovic.

Despite the lack of height, the Blazers started out the game 23-14 behind Damian Lillard’s logo three-pointers.

It was apparent in the second quarter that these are two very competitive teams who tend to get under each other’s skin. A total of seven technical fouls were handed out in the second quarter alone, which included one three in the key violation.

But, even after losing one of their starters to an ejection, the Blazers still held a 72-58 lead at halftime.

Throughout the game it felt like a fight could break out at any moment.

After being outscored 30-17 in the third quarter, Portland held a one point lead heading into the final period.

The game came down to the wire with Utah's crowd fired up from start to finish. There was a questionable no-call as well when Lillard when up for a lay-in in the final seconds and there was no goal-tending called.

The Blazers gave it all that they had with just seven players for most of the game on the second night of a back-to-back, but it was the Jazz who came away with the win. 

FINAL BOX SCORE: JAZZ 117, TRAIL BLAZERS 114

Here are three quick takeaways from Friday’s loss:

1.  Biggie with the starting nod

With no Hassan Whiteside, Blazers head coach Terry Stotts went with 6’9” big man Caleb Swanigan at the five spot. Friday’s game was Swangian’s fourth start over his three-year career. Swangian held his own against Rudy Gobert, especially on the glass. Biggie finished with four points and 11 rebounds. Plus, he took a crucial charge in crunch time. 

2. Blazers depth went from bad to worse

Portland has been dealing with a number of injuries since the third game of the season when the Blazers lost Zach Collins to a left shoulder injury. Friday night, Portland lost Anfernee Simons to a hard fall. Simons did not return to the game after suffering a concussion.  

The second-year player went up for a jumper from the free throw line in the final seconds of the first quarter, but then ultimately fell hard on his back, with his head whipping back and connecting with the court.

The Blazers were not only without Simons for the rest of the game, but then starting forward Trevor Ariza took out his frustrations after arguing a no-foul call.  Ariza was ejected at the 10:05 mark of the second quarter after getting up in the official's face.

3.  Emotions on full display 

The technical fouls just kept coming in the second quarter while both teams showed their frustration and emotions. 

Here’s the full list of techs that happened in the second quarter:

Trevor Ariza technical foul (1st technical foul)       

Trevor Ariza technical foul (2nd technical foul)  

Double technical foul: Carmelo Anthony and Royce O'Neale

Double technical foul: Donovan Mitchell and Gary Trent Jr. –handed out at the end of the first half

Jazz fans seemed to fuel the fire with their loud cheers, boos, and sporadic chants of ‘ref, you suck.’

Entering Friday's game, the Jazz had lost just five games at home all season. 

Up Next: The Trail Blazers host the Miami Heat Sunday night. Catch all the action between the Blazers and Heat at 6:00pm on NBC Sports Northwest and the MyTeams App.

Check back throughout tonight and tomorrow for more articles and videos from the player!

Trail Blazers get "raw" talent and "energy" with Wenyen Gabriel and Caleb Swangian

Trail Blazers get "raw" talent and "energy" with Wenyen Gabriel and Caleb Swangian

Injuries always seem to make way for young players.

The Portland Trail Blazers now not only have a myriad of injuries they are dealing with at the moment, but now they have two young, eager big men ready to prove themselves.

The Blazers and Kings trade become official Tuesday with the Blazers acquiring forwards Trevor Ariza and Wenyen Gabriel and forward/center Caleb Swanigan from Sacramento in exchange for Kent Bazemore, Anthony Tolliver and two second round draft picks.

Most fans know what they’re getting in 15-year veteran Trevor Ariza, but what about the other two?

For Swanigan, he is, of course, back in familiar territory.

The 6-9 forward out of Purdue was selected by the Trail Blazers in the 2017 NBA Draft with the 26th overall pick before he was shipped to the Kings last season at the trade deadline.

Damian Lillard couldn’t help but talk about how strange it was to see Biggie back at the Blazers practice facility.

“When I walked in, he was up there, he was getting tapped and we both acknowledged that it was kind of weird, like, I don’t even think it’s been a full year of him being gone, so it was weird, but it’s good to have him back, another chance,” Lillard said.

Now that Swanigan is in his third season, he has a new perspective on things. 

“The biggest thing with me is that is just growth off the court a lot of things.” Swanigan said. “Just making sure I’m handing my body and other things that I’m doing right… That’d be the biggest thing I’ve grown in.”

The backup big man has now played in 55 NBA career-games while averaging 0.7 points on 37.6 percent shooting to go along with 1.0 rebound.

After just one day back of practicing with the Blazers, he isn’t sure how to feel.

I really don’t know what my reaction is. I’m still taking it in, like it’s different, but it’s the same, so it’s like I’ve been here before, but at a different time… It was good seeing the guys. Still seeing some familiar faces was nice to see. The coaching staff, of course, is the same, so that’s fun. -- Caleb Swanigan on being back in Portland

The 22-year-old isn’t ready to make any claims about this Blazers 2019-20 season.

“All you hear about is the injuries. So, it’s hard to really give them a judgment when you don’t know what guys they really had out there. I’ve been watching a little bit, but each game has been a different group of guys, so it’s hard to get a feel for what it is,” Swanigan said. 

Just as Lillard mentioned the day the trade was reported, there could be a lot of opportunity for Swanigan, Biggie is ready to bring that same liveliness that Blazers fans fell in love with him during the 2017 Summer League Championship run.   

Swanigan believes he can provide “energy, the same thing as before.”

After seeing Swanigan back in a Blazers practice jersey, there is one noticeable difference: Swanigan’s leaner stature.

He said he has lost “about 30 pounds” since he was last in a Trail Blazer uniform after changing his lifestyle to daily early workouts along with eating right.

As for Wenyen Gabriel, a lot of fans don’t know what to expect from the young fella.

Lillard wasn’t sure either.

“I didn’t know much about him, but you can tell he’s really talented,” Lillard said after Wednesday’s practice. “He’s long, athletic, just raw, you can tell there’s a lot of ability there, so it’ll be interesting to see.”

Wednesday, Gabriel showed his excitement of making his way to Portland.  

“When I find out it was Portland, I was pretty happy. I’m excited because there’s opportunity up here right now, and the fact that they wanted me involved in this trade, I felt like, you know, there was some value in that,” Gabriel said.

The 22-year-old went undrafted in 2018 after declaring for the NBA draft last summer following his sophomore season at Kentucky.

The former Wildcat says he hasn’t been informed of his role with the Blazers yet, but he’s going to make sure to stay ready.

“I’m just going to focus on what I can control right now and then just be ready to go out there and be ready to play tomorrow,” Gabriel said.

With all the injuries, Gabriel feels there is a real opportunity with this current roster.

“The type of player I am—I’m long and athletic. I can shoot the ball well so; I think I can help space the floor… Very versatile on defense and offense, so I think I bring a lot of different things to the table and we’ll see what the team needs from me,” Gabriel said.

The Massachusetts and New Hampshire native already knows a couple of the young Trail Blazers too.

Gabriel played against Gary Trent, Jr. in high school and said he knows Anfernee Simons through summer camps.

“To know some familiar faces out here, definitely helps the transition,” Gabriel said.

Of course, there are never any guarantees in the NBA, and for the two newest young players, it’s not for certain they will even see much of the court with the Blazers.

Blazers head coach Terry Stotts offered up this about the young forwards, “With Caleb, he remembers a lot of the things that we did and, so I think for him – getting him on the court will be pretty easy… And, Wenyen is a young player and we’ll see where that goes.”

Thursday night will be the first time to see the new guys as the Trail Blazers host the Dallas Mavericks.  

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. 

A leaner Caleb Swanigan making his return, but things are a bit different now

A leaner Caleb Swanigan making his return, but things are a bit different now

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. 

Here's the inside scoop on Trevor Ariza and Wenyen Gabriel

Here's the inside scoop on Trevor Ariza and Wenyen Gabriel

Sacramento Kings Insider for NBCS James Ham his here to the rescue!

Ham is providing Trail Blazers fans with everything they need to know about the newest Trail Blazers before Saturday’s trade with the Kings becomes official.

Ham has been covering the Kings since September of 2015.

And, he thinks Blazers fans will like what they see from the two players they’ve never seen in a Blazers jersey.

First up: NBA Champion Trevor 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.” – James Ham

Ariza seems like a guy who could fit in nicely with Terry Stotts’ system. The 43rd overall pick of the 2004 NBA draft is averaging six points and 4.6 rebounds this season.

And then there is Wenyen Gabriel:

“After a strong showing in Summer League during the summer of 2018, the Sacramento Kings inked Wenyen Gabriel to a two-year, two-way contract. He didn’t play a minute for the kings last season, instead spending his entire season with the Kings’ G League affiliate in Stockton.

While he didn’t have a breakout season with the Stockton Kings, Gabriel hit the weight room hard during the summer and impressed new head coach Luke Walton with his work ethic. During training, Garbiel continued with his strong play and the Kings converted his two-way contract to a regular roster contract.

With a bevy of injuries, the Kings reduced their rotation down to a small number of players early in the season. Gabriel has seen limited action, but the coaching staff continued to work on his development off the court. He is a hard worker with an NBA body. He’s long and athletic and he’s worked hard to stretch his shooting range beyond the 3-point line.

Wenyen is well liked in the locker room and he has plenty of potential as a combo-forward. He will need time to develop, but there is a chance for him to become an NBA rotational player down the road.” – James Ham

One thing is certain when it comes to Gabriel:

He has a good sense of humor.

The 22-year-old has played in 11 total games for the Kings this season.

Portland will host the Golden State Warriors Monday night and will be short-handed once again because the trade will not be official until at least Tuesday.

Make sure to keep it locked on NBCSNW for more on the newest Trail Blazers.

Trail Blazers acquire Trevor Ariza from Kings -- remember him, Portland?

Trail Blazers acquire Trevor Ariza from Kings -- remember him, Portland?

The Trail Blazers made a move Saturday and it was all about two things -- a) obtaining a taller small forward in Trevor Ariza, who can shoot threes and b) cutting $12.3 million off their payroll.

Portland got Caleb Swanigan, the former Blazer who has been spending time in the G-League, and Wenyen Gabriel, a rookie power forward. The Blazers sent Anthony Tolliver and Kent Bazemore to Sacramento in the trade.

Ariza, a 34-year-old, 15-year veteran, has not seen a lot of action this season for the Kings, who are in the midst of a youth movement. He has played 32 games, averaging six points and shooting 35.2 percent from three-point range, just a tenth of a point above his career average. For Portland, he's a better fit than Bazemore at small forward at 6-8 and the Blazers are going to cut their tax bill approximately in half with the trade.

Ariza has not been a popular player in Portland since his hit on Rudy Fernandez, which got him ejected from a game in Moda Center in 2009.

Not a major deal for sure, but if Ariza can make some three-point field goals and improve the team's defense, it will be an upgrade. And Portland fans have always had short memories, right?

BREAKING: Blazers trade Kent Bazemore and Anthony Tolliver to Sacramento

BREAKING: Blazers trade Kent Bazemore and Anthony Tolliver to Sacramento

Breaking news in Rip City.

According to multiple reports, the Trail Blazers have agreed to trade Kent Bazemore and Anthony Tolliver to the Sacramento Kings for Trevor Ariza, Wenyen Gabriel, and Caleb Swanigan. 

According to the reports, the trade saves Portland $12.3 million, cutting the luxury tax bill in half. 

Tolliver signed with the Blazers this past offseason, while Bazemore came over in an offseason trade with the Atlanta Hawks. 

Tolliver played in 33 games for the Blazers, starting nine of them. He averaged 3.9 points, 3.3 rebounds, and 0.9 rebounds per game. 

As for Bazemore, he was meant to be a key bench contributor for the Blazers, but was thrust into the starting role when Rodney Hood went down with an Achilles injury.

Bazemore played in 43 games for the Blazers, starting 21 of them.

He averaged 7.9 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 1.4 assists per game. 

The key return here for the Blazers is Trevor Ariza. The 34-year-old has made his career on the defensive side of the ball, which is where the Blazers need the most help. Ariza has played in 32 games this season, averaging 6.0 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. He is set to make $12.2 million this year and is under contract through 2021. 

With all the injuries up front, the Blazers need bigs, and they got two of them in Gabriel and Swanigan. Gabriel is a 6'9", 220lb forward in his first season in the NBA. He has played in just 11 games for the Kings, averaging 1.7. points, 0.9 rebounds, and 0.3 assists.

As for Swanigan, he is someone Blazers fans know well. He was drafted by Portland in 2017 26th overall and played parts of two seasons with the Blazers before being traded to the Kings for Skal Labissiere. In seven games with the Kings this season he averaged 0.7 points, 1.0 rebound, and 0.3 assists. 

The Blazers are already depleted by injuries, and may not get the reinforcements before tipoff tonight in OKC. If Gary Trent (illness) is unable to play tonight, Portland would have just seven players available against the Thunder. 

Be sure to stay tuned to NBC Sports Northwest as we get more information on this breaking news. 

Trail Blazers sending Caleb Swanigan to the G-League

Trail Blazers sending Caleb Swanigan to the G-League

The Trail Blazers are sending big man Caleb Swanigan down to the G-League:

From the Trail Blazers press release: 

The Portland Trail Blazers have transferred forward Caleb Swanigan to the NBA G League’s Texas Legends, it was announced today by President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey. 


Swanigan had a 14-game stint in the G-League last season highlighted by a 28 point, 15 rebound, 5 assist game (highlights above). That stretch was a positive experience for Biggie, who averaged a double-double while playing for the Canton Charge averaging 14.2 points and 11.9 rebounds per game. Situated behind Jusuf Nurkic, Maurice Harkless (when healthy), Meyers Leonard and Zach Collins, there just isn't room for Swanigan in the rotation right now.

By sending Swanigan to the G-League, it makes sense to get the young guy solid minutes and keep his game fresh rather than having him sit at the end of the Trail Blazer bench. It has not been reported how long his time with the G-League will be. 

Swanigan has only played in 16 of the 37 Trail Blazers' games so far this season and up until Sunday's blowout vs. the 76ers, he had not logged more than seven minutes in a game in over a month. 

Caleb “The Gamer” Swanigan

Caleb “The Gamer” Swanigan

INDIANAPOLIS - Before the 6:13 mark in the first quarter of the Trail Blazers 103-93 win over the Pacers, Jusuf Nurkic picked up two quick fouls, while backup center Meyers Leonard had three fouls.

With two big men in early foul trouble that made way for second year player Caleb Swanigan.

Through the first five games of the regular season, Swanigan had seen the floor for a total of three minutes. In Indiana on Monday night, he got up and down the court for 19 after entering the game with 1:32 to go in the first quarter.

The Blazers star backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum had no doubt ‘Biggie’ would be able to come in and make an impact even if he had only been in games during garbage time so far this season.

“When I heard coach calls his name, I knew he was going to go out there and be prepared,” Lillard said.

“I thought he was great. Before he subbed in, I told some of the guys on the bench that he’s a gamer,” McCollum said.

Swanigan finished with a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds. His points came on an efficient 4-of-6 from the floor and a perfect 3-for-3 from the charity stripe.

The Trail Blazers’ bench as a whole outscored the Pacers bench, 54-15. Those kind of numbers are what make Blazers head coach Terry Stotts praise his second unit.

“The understatement is that our bench was outstanding… Caleb Swanigan hasn’t played and he gets a double-double. Evan Turner was terrific even though he had foul trouble in the first half. Nik and Seth continue to play well together. Zach Collins gets better every day,” Stotts said.

For Swanigan, it’s all about making sure you put in the work on a daily basis—“Working out and doing the same thing I do everyday, keeping myself in a routine, so that way, play or not play, I’m mentally prepared,” Swanigan said.

Swanigan staying ready and focused has not gone unnoticed by Lillard.

“Biggie, he’s always been one of those dudes that’s just been prepared. When the regular season started and he wasn’t playing minutes the first few games, you come in the PF (practice facility), we’d be lifting and you’d see Biggie on the treadmill while people are still getting dressed. And then before everyone gets on the court you’d see him getting his reps in,” Lillard said.

It was one of those first halves for Portland where the whistles continued to blow.

Swanigan picked up his first foul in the first 30 seconds of the 2nd quarter and with just under 9 minutes left in the first half the difference in fouls was pretty lopsided --Portland had 12 team fouls to the Pacers’ four. At the break, the Blazers had committed 13 fouls. The Pacers had seven team fouls. 

But the foul trouble didn’t rattle Portland.

“When guys go down with fouls, we know that the next guy is going to come in and know what’s going on and be able to execute what we want to do,” Lillard said.

Even with Swanigan picking up his fourth foul in the final seconds of the third quarter, he stayed poised and continued to stand his ground down low.

“That’s more favorable for me. I mean post defensive is what I’ve been my entire life,” Swanigan said.

“He played within himself. He was unselfish. He made some good passes. He battled inside. A double-double speaks for itself. He didn’t go out there and try and do anything that wasn’t within himself… He played just a good team game and ended up having good numbers too,” Stotts said.      

And, what’s better than having your first career double-double in your first real minutes of the season? How about having seven members of your close family at the game? Yes, it was a homecoming for Swanigan who hails from Indianapolis and attended Purdue from 2015 to 2017.

He was even named Indiana Mr. Basketball his senior year of high school so it’s fitting that he would have such a big performance at Bankers Fieldhouse. His teammates were happy to see him do so well in front of a hometown crowd.

“Big time. I’m happy for him. He stayed focused. He shows he’s a true professional. I don’t think he’s really got in that type of situation all year, it talks about what type of person he is and he really helped us stay in the game. I’m happy he did it in front of his hometown fans,” Evan Turner said.

Zach Collins was happy to see his same draft class teammate have such an impact.

“He was huge. To come in and not be playing for the first couple of games and then come in and have a double-double like that, that’s huge. That tell you what type of player he is. He’s always ready. He’s always working hard,” Collins said.

Now the question is: are you opposed to using both 'Biggie' and 'The Gamer' as nicknames for Swanigan? Either way it looks like Caleb is staying ready and hungry for some minutes on the court.