Trevor Ariza will not participate in the NBA’s restart in Orlando.
As reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the 34-year-old wing has decided to commit to a one-month visitation window with his son instead.
Ariza has been involved in an ongoing custody battle with the mother of his 12-year-old son, and after the mother chose to grant a court-ordered one-month visitation window during the NBA’s quarantine period at Walt Disney Resort, he decided to opt out and spend the time with his son.
Ariza clearly made the best decision in a tough position, but there will be ramifications for both him and the Blazers. Per Woj, he’ll lose between $1 million and $1.8 million in salary (depending on whether Portland makes the playoffs) based on games missed.
For Rip City, this unfortunate situation deprives the team of its starting wing who was actually playing fairly well after dialing it in for the Phoenix Suns, Washington Wizards and Sacramento Kings over the last two seasons. With the Blazers, Ariza posted 11.0 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.6 steals in 33.4 minutes per game, starting in all 21 of his appearances.
Portland cannot sign a replacement player and currently sits 3.5 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the 8-seed. If the ninth-place team is within 4.0 games of the 8-seed, it will force a play-in scenario that is single-elimination for the ninth-place team and double-elimination for the eighth-place team.
The question is whether this is the first domino to fall in more players opting out. The NBA’s deadline for players to inform the league if they are planning to not participate in the 22-team restart in Orlando is Wednesday.
Ariza’s reasons for not participating may not establish a precedent since they do not revolve around coronavirus concerns or focusing on the fight for social justice that needs vital attention in this country right now, but now that one player has decided to opt out, it may make it easier for other hesitant players to pull the trigger.