The Portland Trail Blazers will attempt to snap a two-game losing skid when they face the cellar-dwelling Cleveland Cavaliers. Star point guard Damian Lillard joins forward Maurice Harkless on the injury report prior to Wednesday’s contest. NBC Sports Northwest’s Jamie Hudson confirmed that both Lillard and Harkless will be listed as questionable against the Cavs. If Lillard misses time, it will force Head Coach Terry Stotts to explore options further down on his bench.
Lillard sustained an elbow injury in the second half of the Blazers’ 124-112 victory over the Bulls. Despite the injury, the former Weber State standout has not missed time. In a loss against the Kings on Monday, Lillard led all scorers with a 35-point outburst. Considering the struggles that the Cavaliers are enduring, it might be wise for the Blazers to rest their star player in this matchup. Lillard, a six-year NBA veteran, has started in all 45 of Portland’s games this season.
Trail Blazers Starting Lineup & Roster
*Notates expected starter
PG: Damian Lillard*, Seth Curry
SG: CJ McCollum*, Nik Stauskas, Anfernee Simons, Gary Trent Jr.
SF: Maurice Harkless*, Evan Turner, Jake Layman
PF: Al-Farouq Aminu*, Zach Collins
C: Jusuf Nurkic*, Meyers Leonard
Blazers Buyers at the NBA Trade Deadline?
The Trail Blazers are in the middle of the friendliest section of their schedule. After surviving a grueling slate of games to finish December, Stotts’ squad has is enjoying a home-heavy streak against favorable opponents. Combined with the need to add another serviceable player on the perimeter, President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey could easily turn Portland into buyers at the trade deadline.
The biggest hangup for the Blazers making a trade is their available assets. Portland’s roster is loaded with cap-gouging salaries committed to mid-tier role players. Turner, Leonard, and Harkless all have multiple years left on eight-figure annual salaries. Hurdles aside, the Blazers own all of their future first-round picks. With draft assets to soften the blow, it is possible that Olshey could find a willing trade partner in the coming weeks.
Sporting News’ Sean Deveney revealed last week that the Blazers have emerged as suitors for Atlanta Hawks guard Jeremy Lin. On paper, Lin doesn’t appear to be the ideal fit for a Portland squad looking to add depth at forward. Outside of that question, Lin fits the bill of a guard that could thrive alongside Lillard or McCollum. In the end, it will likely come down the Hawks’ willingness to absorb one of the Blazers’ undesirable contracts.