• Leading up to the Portland Trail Blazers’ season-opener against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers at Moda Center on October 18, HoopBall is profiling the team’s 15 players with guaranteed contracts, in reverse order of price.

    Player: Gary Trent, Jr.

    2018-19 salary: $838,464 (via spotrac)

    Position: off-ball guard

    Age, experience: 19, rookie

    Measureables: 6-foot-6, 204 pounds (6-foot-8 and 3/4 inch wingspan)

    Strengths: shooting, strength, ball security

    Weaknesses: finishing ability, lateral quickness, first step, positional versatility, youth

    Swing factor: 3-point shooting

    Likely role: deep reserve/G-League

    The Trail Blazers paid a pretty price for Trent, sending out second-round picks in each of the next two drafts to the Sacramento Kings for the rights to the No. 37 overall pick. A teenager who broke Duke’s single-season record for triples during his one season in Durham, he has the size and skill-set teams covet from off-ball guards in the modern NBA – at least at first glance.

    Portland lists Trent at 6-foot-6, and his 33 1/2 inch standing vertical leap ranked third at the pre-draft combine. He bench pressed 185 pounds 12 times, too, a solid number for a perimeter player just one year removed from high school. Unfortunately, those measurements paint a far rosier portrait of the physical tools he actually brings to the NBA game. He struggled immensely as a finisher at Summer League, beset by a relative lack of length and his need for space to explode the way his impressive jumping metrics indicate What’s likely to set Trent back more from an athletic perspective, though, is his lateral quickness. He fared better defensively in Las Vegas than most anticipated given his performance on that end of the floor at Duke, but nonetheless showed little to suggest he has the defensive chops to fit the ever-coveted 3-and-D archetype.

    Players of that caliber are rarely found outside the top half of the first round anyway; the Blazers probably view Trent’s realistic ceiling as a valuable bench player rather than a solid starter. He won’t be either unless he lives up to his reputation as a marksman, something he failed to do over the summer. Trent, after shooting 40.2 percent on 6.5 threes per game in college, connected on just 9-of-his 40 attempts in Las Vegas. It’s not like Portland wasn’t producing good looks, either; both Jake Layman and John Jenkins made comfortably over half their tries from deep.

    The good news: Trent’s textbook release was unchanged by the extra distance from the college line to the NBA’s, and his balance both from both a stationary position or otherwise was impressive. He made all 15 of his free throws, too. More notable considering that type of refinement was expected, though, was Trent’s poise and comfort on the floor no doubt instilled by an entire life spent around the game at its highest level. Assuming the jumper comes, he looked the part of a future rotation player, basically, no small feat for a second-rounder who doesn’t turn 20 in January.

    On a losing team with a priority of player development, Trent could perhaps be earmarked for a handful of  on a nightly basis. But that’s not the Blazers. Big changes could come for Portland if it doesn’t earn a playoff berth in what’s maybe the strongest conference the league has seen this decade.Terry Stotts just doesn’t have the luxury of patience for a player like Trent, and Neil Olshey, who talked in July about the rookie potentially getting some burn this season, signed Seth Curry and Nik Stauskas to address his team’s dearth of shooting behind Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. The performances of Layman and Wade Baldwin, both older incumbents, theoretically push Trent further down Stotts’ list of options on the perimeter, too.

    Does that mean there’s not a possible path for Trent to the rotation? Not necessarily. If he shoots lights out from three in training camp and Curry is still a step slow after a full season away from the game or, just as likely, Stauskas proves unplayable defensively, Stotts could find himself playing a rookie not just in front of Portland’s first-round pick, but also as his second or third perimeter player off the bench. More likely is that Trent joins Anfernee Simons at the end of the Blazers’ bench when they aren’t getting reps down in the G-League, with hopes of developing into real factors for Portland this time next year.

Fantasy News

  • Romello White
    PF, College

    Romello White declared for the 2020 NBA Draft on Wednesday.

    White is "keeping his options available" despite declaring for the draft. It is probably a good idea considering he isn't a lock to be drafted. The junior power forward averaged 10.2 points, 8.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks for Arizona State this past season. He isn't likely to be on the fantasy radar even if he does earn a roster spot in the NBA.

    Source: Jon Rothstein on Twitter

  • Kevin Durant
    SF, Brooklyn Nets

    The four players from the Nets who tested positive for COVID-19 are symptom free after passing a 14-day protocol but are still self-isolating, according to Greg Logan of Newsday.

    Logan went on to say that the entire traveling party for the Nets are healthy at the moment. This is a good sign to see players and staff recovering from the virus without any new cases reported.

    Source: Greg Logan on Twitter

  • Marcus Smart
    PG, Boston Celtics

    Marcus Smart plans to donate his blood plasma to the National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project for research on how the virus affects the blood of those infected or have been infected already, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

    This marks an interesting end (fingers-crossed) to Smart's coronavirus infection and subsequent quarantine. Only five NBA players have received confirmed positive tests for COVID-19 but the NBA obviously isn't taking any chances during this global pandemic. With speed being medical professionals' biggest pressure with regards to a vaccine, Smart really stepped up to the plate. Hopefully other public figures who have recovered from the virus will follow his lead in donating necessary items for research. This also doesn't hurt Smart's public image, which has been known to fluctuate dramatically during his college and professional career.

    Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

  • Jeremy Lin
    PG, International

    The Chinese government has stopped the CBA (Chinese Basketball Association) from resuming their season, nearly two months after halting their season due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19.

    The CBA does not currently have a players' union, so these types of sweeping decisions can happen more quickly than in the United States, where the players are unionized. While this is not great news for basketball players and fans in China, it also has global ramifications for sports across the world looking for a timeline. Everyone is wondering when it will be safe to resume or begin athletic events. Executives are trying to handle the logistics of said decisions, which is much more of a slippery slope. It seems increasingly obvious that the NBA is nowhere near a return to action and currently the situation is still completely out of commissioner Adam Silver's hands.

    Source: CBS Sports

  • LeBron James
    SF, Los Angeles Lakers

    The entire Lakers roster has been deemed symptom-free of the coronavirus after completing a 14-day home isolation that was prescribed by team doctors, according to Lakers reporter Mike Trudell.

    Finally, some good news for the NBA. The Lakers were isolated two weeks ago and they all maintained quarantine in their homes. The league has yet to announce plans as far as next steps for potentially resuming the 2019-20 season, but this is a good start. More teams should complete quarantine periods in the coming weeks. It doesn't help that professional basketball's return in China was halted abruptly after they had planned on making a return earlier this week. This is obviously a very fluid situation and NBA commissioner Adam Silver must bide his time before making concrete decisions. Stay tuned.

    Source: Mike Trudell on Twitter

  • Clint Capela
    C, Atlanta Hawks

    According to Sarah K. Spencer of the Atlantic Journal Constitution, Clint Capela had been progressing towards participating in half-court workouts prior to the season being suspended.

    There was some uncertainty surrounding Capela's potential return this season, but now he will have a much better shot at getting a few games below his belt before the conclusion of the season. If Capela does indeed find himself on the court for a few games, we'd have to imagine that he will be on a strict minutes limit as Lloyd Pierce alluded to last month.

    Source: Atlantic Journal Constitution

  • Cameron Johnson
    SF, Phoenix Suns

    Cameron Johnson is fully cleared from mononucleosis that he has been battling for the past few weeks.

    Johnson missed the final three games before the league was suspended due to mononucleosis, but will be ready to go when the season starts up again. Johnson was looking at an expanded role with Kelly Oubre Jr. injured, but there is now a chance that Oubre Jr. will be ready a situation to monitor when the season gets ready to resume.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Joe Harris
    SF, Brooklyn Nets

    Joe Harris said that he would like to re-sign with the Nets this summer.

    When Harris was asked if he would like to play with the Nets next season, he replied, “Yeah, definitely! Why wouldn’t you?" The Nets will have Harris' Bird Rights and will certainly like to bring him back, but Harris will be a highly-coveted free agent this summer and will be looking to cash in on what is seen as a weaker free agent class.

    Source: New York Post

  • Jonathan Isaac
    PF, Orlando Magic

    Jonathan Isaac has been continuing his rehab work from a severe knee sprain amid the NBA hiatus.

    Isaac has been out since early in the calendar year after suffering a left knee sprain and bone bruise. The NBA denied the Magic a Disabled Player Exception earlier in the year, as doctors believed that Isaac wouldn't be out until mid June. Isaac was a long shot to return by the playoffs, but the hiatus has given him a better chance to return and potentially be ready for the start of the playoffs. This is an interesting watch as we continue to wait for the NBA, and life in general, to resume as normal.

    Source: The Athletic

  • LeBron James
    SF, Los Angeles Lakers

    The New York Post's Marc Berman reports that the NBA's best-case scenario is looking like a late June to early July brief regular season restart with a one-site, 16-team playoff, possibly with each series a best-of-three.

    He mentions that a league official said that nothing is off the table, so we're far away from anything definitive. There is still obviously a chance that the season gets cancelled, but the league is "very determined to have a champion". Don't expect anything to be determined for many weeks, if not months.

    Source: The New York Post