Guard CJ McCollum was inadvertently left off the Trail Blazers’ active roster that was turned in before Wednesday night’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers, making Portland’s second leading scorer ineligible to play.
The Clippers beat the Blazers 109-98.
Afterward, coach Terry Stotts took full responsibility for the error.
“I signed the paper without really noticing it, but it’s my fault for not looking at it. Although we caught the error, we thought we’d caught it in time, apparently we did not, so CJ was ruled inactive, and that’s that.”
The situation caused confusion at the start of the game. The Blazers initially said it was a mistake and McCollum was indeed active, but then Allen Crabbe started in his place.
McCollum was dressed and on the Blazers’ bench at the start of the game. Luis Montero, listed as active on the roster, was in street clothes. McCollum retreated to the locker room following the first quarter.
Late in the half, the team announced that McCollum was inactive for the game, and Montero was active.
The team cited a “clerical error in the NBA’s active list reporting.” Active rosters are due 60 minutes before game time, and are signed by the head coaches.
The Blazers contacted the league when they realized the mistake but were told that it was too late to change the roster.
“The sheet came back to me, along with the Clippers, and that’s when I noticed it,” Stotts said. “And honestly, I think we got it in — the rule is to get it in 60 minutes before tipoff — and I thought we got it under the 60 minutes but apparently we did not.”
McCollum is second on the Blazers with 21 points per game. He said he was unclear about the situation until the starting lineups were announced in player introductions just before the start.
He called it all “unfortunate.”
“It’s in the past. Putting it in the past now. Nothing you can do about it now. Just got to move in and try to get a win (against Golden State) on Friday,” he said.
The Clippers mistakenly left Danny Granger off the active list in a March 2014 game against the Pelicans and he had to sit.
“We’ve made that error twice in the last two years,” Clippers coach Doc Rivers said. “One we had just signed a guy right before the game.”
Rivers also questioned the process.
“There should be no ‘Active List,'” he said. “I’ve been fighting this for three years. If someone can explain to me why there is an active list, I’d love to hear it. We can’t get it changed and as coaches it’s tough.”