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Trail Blazers re-sign Meyers Leonard

Trail Blazers re-sign Meyers Leonard

The Portland Trail Blazers have re-signed forward/center Meyers Leonard, it was announced yesterday by president of basketball operations Neil Olshey.

“Meyers is a core member of our organization and continues to show the promise and potential we anticipated when we drafted him,” said Olshey.

Leonard averaged career-highs with 8.4 points (44.8% FG, 37.7% 3-PT76.1% FT), 5.1 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 21.9 minutes in 61 games (10 starts) in 2015-16. He missed the final 14 games of the regular season due to an injured left shoulder.

“Today is a day which is hard to describe. I’m overcome with happiness and joy,” said Leonard. “I’m thankful for the people who have remained loyal and loving in my life. This is the product of a lot of hard work and time. I feel like I have found a new gear mentally and physically and really am excited for the next four years. The future is going to be bright with this team.”

In four NBA seasons, Leonard (7-1, 255) has averaged 5.8 points (48.9% FG, 38.5% 3-PT, 81.4% FT), 4.1 rebounds 0.8 assists and 16.6 minutes in 225 games (26 starts). The Illinois native made more three-pointers last season (86) than he did through his first three seasons combined (50).

Portland selected Leonard with the 11th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, after the forward/center played in 65 games over two collegiate seasons at Illinois.

Trail Blazers sign center Festus Ezeli

Trail Blazers sign center Festus Ezeli

The Portland Trail Blazers have signed free agent center Festus Ezeli, it was announced today by president of basketball operations Neil Olshey. The deal is reportedly a $15 million dollar contract over two years.

Ezeli, 26, joins the Trail Blazers from the Golden State Warriors, where he averaged 7.0 points (54.8% FG, 53.0% FT), 5.6 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 1.09 blocks and 16.7 minutes in 46 games (13 starts) last season.

“Festus is an outstanding addition to the Trail Blazer organization on and off the court. He will make an immediate impact and be a valuable addition to our culture,” said Olshey.

Selected 30th overall by the Warriors in the 2012 NBA Draft, Ezeli holds career averages of 4.2 points (51.3% FG, 55.7% FT), 4.3 rebounds, 0.4 assists, 0.98 blocks and 14.1 minutes in 170 games (61 starts) over three NBA seasons.

Ezeli (6-11, 265) has seen playoff action in all three of his NBA seasons, and averaged 4.0 points (53.6% FG), 2.7 rebounds, 0.3 assists and 8.8 minutes in 23 games for Golden State during the 2016 NBA Playoffs. Ezeli won an NBA championship with the Warriors in 2015.

A four-year standout at Vanderbilt, Ezeli graduated as the school’s all-time blocks leader with 204 career blocked shots. He averaged 7.7 points (56.2% FG), 4.5 rebounds and 1.69 blocks in 121 collegiate games.

Trail Blazers waive Cliff Alexander

The Portland Trail Blazers waived forward Cliff Alexander today, president of basketball operations Neil Olshey announced.

Alexander played in eight games for the Trail Blazers as a rookie in 2015-16, averaging 1.3 points (50.0% FG), 0.8 rebounds and 4.5 minutes per game.

Magic trade Shabazz Napier to Blazers

Magic trade Shabazz Napier to Blazers

The Orlando Magic have acquired cash considerations from the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for guard Shabazz Napier, General Manager Rob Hennigan announced today.

Napier (6’1”, 175, 7/14/91) played in 55 games with Orlando last season, averaging 3.7 ppg., 1.8 apg. and 1.0 rpg. in 10.9 minpg. He was acquired by the Magic, along with cash considerations, from Miami in exchange for a conditional second round draft pick on July 27, 2015. Originally selected in the first round (24th overall) of the 2014 NBA Draft by Charlotte, Napier has appeared in 106 career NBA regular season games (ten starts) with Miami and Orlando, averaging 4.4 ppg., 2.1 apg. and 1.6 rpg. in 15.2 minpg.

Blazers sign rookie Jake Layman

The Portland Trail Blazers have signed forward Jake Layman, it was announced today by president of basketball operations Neil Olshey.

Acquired in a draft day trade with Orlando, Layman (6-9, 220) was selected with the 47th overall pick in the second round of the 2016 NBA Draft.

Layman, 22, posted career averages of 10.2 points (44.5% FG, 36.2% 3-PT, 75.9% FT), 4.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists in four seasons at Maryland.

An Honorable Mention All-Big Ten selection his senior year, Layman led Maryland to 114 wins over his four seasons and is one of just 12 players in school history to record 1,400 points (1,436) and 600 rebounds (674). He guided Maryland to its first Sweet Sixteen appearance since 2003 last season, and ranks 18th in school history in points (1,436) and 18th in rebounds (674).

Layman will make his Trail Blazers debut at the 2016 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. Portland tips off its schedule on Saturday, July 9 vs. Phoenix at 1 p.m. (Pacific).

He will wear No. 10 for the Trail Blazers.

Trail Blazers sign Evan Turner

The Portland Trail Blazers have signed free agent guard/forward Evan Turner, it was announced today by president of basketball operations Neil Olshey. We’ll post contract details here Thursday morning.

Turner, 27, joins the Trail Blazers from the Boston Celtics, where he netted averages of 10.5 points (45.6% FG, 24.1% 3PT, 82.7% FT), 4.9 rebounds, 4.4 assists, 0.99 steals and 28.0 minutes in 81 games (12 starts) last season.

“Evan’s skill set on the court and character off the court are ideal additions to our team and the culture we are working to build in Portland,” said Olshey. “We expect him to be an impact player on both sides of the ball and are very pleased he chose our organization as his home for the next four years.”

The second overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, Turner holds career averages of 10.7 points (43.2% FG, 30.5% 3PT, 77.7% FT), 5.2 rebounds, 3.8 assists and 28.6 minutes over six seasons with Philadelphia, Indiana and Boston.

Turner (6-7, 216) has playoff experience in five of his six seasons, and averaged 13.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.33 steals and 1.00 blocked shot in six games for the Celtics during the 2016 NBA Playoffs.

allen crabbe

The Portland Trail Blazers have extended qualifying offers to guard Allen Crabbe and forwards Maurice Harkless and Meyers Leonard, it was announced today by president of basketball operations Neil Olshey.

By extending qualifying offers to Crabbe, Harkless and Leonard prior to the June 30 deadline, Portland owns the right to match any offer sheet they may sign with another NBA team. All three players will become restricted free agents on July 1.

Crabbe, acquired in a 2013 draft day trade, holds career averages of 7.0 points (44.7 FG%, 38.5% 3-PT, 85.0% FT), 2.0 rebounds and 1.0 assist in 147 games (17 starts) over three seasons with Portland. In 2015-16, Crabbe averaged career highs in points (10.3), rebounds (2.7), assists (1.2) and steals (0.77), while registering career-best shooting marks in field goal percentage (45.9%), 3-point field goal percentage (39.3%) and free throw percentage (86.7%).

Acquired by the Trail Blazers in 2015 after spending his first three seasons in Orlando, Harkless posted averages of 6.4 points on 47.5% shooting, 3.6 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.62 steals and 18.7 minutes in 78 games (14 starts) with Portland in 2015-16. He scored in double figures 23 times, eight of which came in the final 10 games of the season.

In four seasons with the Trail Blazers, Leonard is averaging 5.8 points (48.9% FG, 38.5% 3-PT, 81.4% FT), 4.1 rebounds, 0.8 assists and 16.6 minutes. Selected by Portland with the 11th overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, Leonard played in 61 games (10 starts) in 2015-16 and averaged career-highs in points (8.4), rebounds (5.1), assists (1.5) and minutes (21.9), tallying more 3-pointers (86) than he did in his first three seasons combined (50).

The Portland Trail Blazers have finalized their coaching staff for the 2016-17 season, it was announced today by president of basketball operations Neil Olshey.

Assistant coach Dale Osbourne has been promoted to the front of the bench, and John McCullough has joined the coaching staff after spending the previous four seasons as the team’s advance scout.

Osbourne, entering his fifth year as an assistant, returns to head coach Terry Stotts’ staff along with David Vanterpool (fifth season), Nate Tibbetts (fourth season) and Jim Moran (second season).

Blazers and coach Terry Stotts agree to contract extension

As expected, the Portland Trail Blazers and head coach Terry Stotts have agreed to a contract extension.

“Terry has been an outstanding partner and this extension represents our desire to build a model of stability and consistency,” said Olshey.

Stotts completed his fourth season as head coach of the Trail Blazers in 2015-16, going 44-38 to solidify his third consecutive winning season and third straight postseason berth, despite not returning four of five starters from 2014-15. Portland defeated the Los Angeles Clippers in the first round of the 2016 NBA Playoffs to advance to the Western Conference Semifinals for the second time in the past three seasons.

“I am very pleased that we were able to agree on a contract extension and look forward to continuing the progress that we have made,” said Stotts. “As an organization, we have developed a culture and continuity that is exciting to be a part of, and I could not be more appreciative of the players and coaching staff.

“There is not a better fan base in the NBA. Jan and I love Portland and are extremely happy to call it our home.”

Runner-up for the 2015-16 NBA Coach of the Year award, Stotts was named the NBA’s Western Conference Coach of the Month in February of 2016 after the Trail Blazers finished the month with a 9-2 record.

In 2013-14, Stotts led the Trail Blazers to a 54-win season, marking the largest improvement in franchise history and the sixth-best record all-time. Portland won its first playoff series in 14 seasons, defeating the Houston Rockets in six games.

A 21-year coaching veteran, Portland introduced Stotts as the franchise’s 14th head coach on August 7, 2012. He has compiled a 182-146 (.555) record in four seasons at the helm in Portland, good for fifth-most wins in team history, and has a 297-314 (.486) overall NBA coaching record with Atlanta, Milwaukee and Portland.

Blazers vs Warriors game 2 recap

Still playing without Stephen Curry, the Warriors exploded in the 4th quarter and shut the Blazers down for a comeback win, giving them a 2-0 lead in their first round playoff series. Here’s the Columbian Blog with some insight:

Blazers Warriors game 2 recap

For three quarters, it looked like the Portland Trail Blazers would add “beating the 73-9 Warriors at home in the playoffs,” to their list of accomplishments everybody else thought was impossible. But some villains are to vile to stop. Some mountains, too tough to climb. Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and the Warriors proved to be that mountain again for the Blazers, leading the Warriors to a 110-99 win behind a monster 4th quarter where they outscored Portland 34-12. The Warriors lead the best-of-seven series 2-0. Game 3 is 5:30 Saturday at the Moda Center.

Damian Lillard loves playing at home and looked better in Game 2, scoring 25 points through three quarters. And he of course wanted to erase a rough Game 1 where he scored 30 but was just 8-of-26 from the field. He was quiet early but exploded for 17 points in the third quarter, helping Portland hold an 8-point lead after three quarters. But Lillard didn’t score in the fourth and nobody on the Blazers could help their cause late as they saw what was likely their best opportunity for a road win in the series slip away.

With a quick turnaround, the Blazers looked overmatched in Game 1. Truth be told, they are overmatched. But they don’t fold and their start to Game 2 was exactly what should have been expected. The Blazers learn and they found ways to attack the Warriors with success. They preyed on Andrew Bogut’s slow feet and it helped create holes in the defense. Those holes weren’t there when Steve Kerr dusted off Festus Ezeli down the stretch, which coincided with Portland suddenly being unable to score. Ezeli suffered an injury and was inexplicably buried on the bench behind Anderson Varejao and Mareese Speights until the 2nd half of Game 2. He made a major contribution and helped turn the game around with his defense as well as improved play from Green and Thompson.

CJ McCollum wins 2015-2016 NBA Most Improved Player award

Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum, who more than tripled his scoring average from the previous season, is the winner of the 2015-16 NBA Most Improved Player Award, the NBA announced today. The 6-4 guard joins Kevin Duckworth (1987-88) and Zach Randolph (2003-04) as the only Trail Blazers to earn the award, which is designed to honor an up-and-coming player who has made a dramatic improvement from the previous season or seasons.

McCollum received 101 first-place votes and 559 total points from a panel of 130 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada. Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Hornets (seven first-place votes, 166 points) and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks (four first-place votes, 99 points) finished second and third, respectively. Players were awarded five points for each first-place vote, three points for each second-place vote and one point for each third-place vote.

McCollum averaged a career-high 20.8 points (18th in the NBA) in his third season since being selected by the Trail Blazers with the 10th pick of NBA Draft 2013 presented by State Farm. He raised his scoring average by 14 points from last season’s 6.8, the largest increase (minimum 40 games each season) since Tony Campbell improved by 17 points from 1988-89 (6.2) to 1989-90 (23.2). McCollum established career highs in field goal percentage (44.8), three-point field goal percentage (41.7, eighth in the NBA), assists (4.3 apg) and rebounds (3.2 rpg), helping Portland make the playoffs for the third consecutive year.

Last season, McCollum appeared in 62 games (three starts) and averaged 15.7 minutes. He scored in double figures 18 times and reached the 20-point mark three times. This season, as one of four new starters for Portland, McCollum hit double figures in 79 of his 80 games, scored at least 20 points in 40 games and notched eight 30-point games. McCollum ranked ninth in the NBA with 197 three-pointers made, and he teamed with Damian Lillard to form the league’s third-highest scoring duo (45.9 ppg).

The Trail Blazers need all the help they can get against a tough first round opponent in the Clippers. Portland is down 1-0 in the series, which is no big deal, but they got smoked in Game 1 and need to look like a completely different squad in Game 2. Per CSNNW:

Chris Kaman may play increased playoff role for Blazers

When Chris Kaman entered Sunday night’s Game 1 of the playoff series between the Trail Blazers and Clippers for the first time, there was 9:01 left and Portland trailed by 18 points. When Kaman scored on a driving layup less than a minute later, the question you had to ponder was simply, “Where has this guy been?” Not just in this game, but all season? Where, exactly, has he been? Last season, Kaman was a key reserve for Portland, averaging six and a half rebounds and eight and a half points in 74 games. This season, Kaman appeared in just 16 regular-season games. Where has this man been?

Meyers Leonard having season-ending shoulder surgery

Portland Trail Blazers forward Meyers Leonard will undergo surgery to repair his injured left shoulder and as a result will miss the remainder of the season.

The surgery is scheduled to be performed on Friday, April 8 by Dr. Neal ElAttrache at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles.

Through 61 games this season, Leonard is averaging 8.4 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.

Spurs keep winning at home, beat Blazers

nba blog

The Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday became the latest victim of San Antonio’s AT&T Center.

With a little shooting from forward LaMarcus Aldridge, a lot of passing from guard Tony Parker and a host of contributions up and down the roster, the Spurs beat the Blazers 118-110, sweeping the three-game season series.

San Antonio (58-10) won its 43rd consecutive game at AT&T Center, improving to a perfect 34-0 at home this season.

Aldridge finished with 22 points and six rebounds, Parker recorded 18 points and 16 assists and Kawhi Leonard added 22 points and three blocks for the balanced Spurs, who received scoring from 10 players.

– Oregonian

brian roberts traded

The Portland Trail Blazers have acquired guard Brian Roberts and a future second-round pick from the Miami Heat in exchange for cash considerations, it was announced today by president of basketball operations Neil Olshey.

“Brian is an experienced player and a quality person,” said Olshey. “He has a skill set we value and fills a positional need as we head into a critical time in the season.”

In four seasons with New Orleans and Charlotte, Roberts, 30, is averaging 7.4 points (41.2% FG, 35.2% 3-PT, 91.9% FT), 1.5 rebounds and 2.6 assists over 252 games (57 starts).

Roberts (6-1, 173) was traded to Miami from Charlotte on Tuesday, and did not play for the Heat.

One of the league’s top shooters from the free throw line, Roberts has made at least 90 percent of his free throws in three of four seasons, including an NBA-best 94 percent in 2013-14.

anderson varejao traded

The Portland Trail Blazers have acquired a future first-round draft pick and forward Anderson Varejao from the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for a future second-round pick, it was announced today by president of basketball operations Neil Olshey.

“This was an opportunistic way to use our cap room to acquire a valuable asset,” said Olshey.

Varejao, 33, holds career averages of 7.6 points (51.2% FG, 63.2% FT), 7.5 rebounds and 1.2 assists over 12 seasons with the Cavaliers. He is posting averages of 2.6 points, 2.9 rebounds and 10.0 minutes in 31 games this season.

Trail Blazers waive guard Tim Frazier

Trail Blazers waive guard Tim Frazier

The Portland Trail Blazers have waived guard Tim Frazier, it was announced today by president of basketball operations Neil Olshey.

Frazier, 25, averaged 1.5 points, 1.1 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 7.8 minutes in 35 games (one start) for the Trail Blazers this season.

Signed as a free agent on March 30, 2015, Frazier posted averages of 1.9 points, 1.2 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 8.5 minutes in parts of two seasons with the Trail Blazers.

CJ McCollum replaces Chris Bosh in 2016 NBA Three-point Competition

Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum has been added to the 2016 Three-Point Competition, the NBA announced today.

McCollum, 24, is already competing in the Skills Challenge, and will replace Miami’s Chris Bosh in the Three-Point Competition. Both events are part of All-Star Saturday Night at Air Canada Centre in Toronto.

In 52 games played this season, McCollum ranks second on the team in both scoring (20.7 ppg) and assists (4.2 apg). He is shooting a team-high 39.2% from beyond the three-point line, and ranks ninth in the NBA with 125 three-point field goals.

McCollum recorded 35 points (14-28 FG), 11 rebounds, nine assists and four steals against Sacramento on Dec. 27, making him the first NBA player to log at least 35 points, 11 rebounds, nine assists and four steals in a game since Kevin Garnett on Dec. 10, 2004.

He becomes the eighth Trail Blazer in franchise history to compete in the Three-Point Contest, joining Kiki Vandeweghe (1987), Danny Ainge (1991), Clyde Drexler (1991), Terry Porter (1991, 1993), Cliff Robinson (1996), Damian Lillard (2014) and Wesley Matthews (2015). No Portland player has ever won the event.

McCollum will compete against Golden State’s Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, Houston’s James Harden, Milwaukee’s Khris Middleton, Toronto’s Kyle Lowry, the L.A. Clippers’ JJ Redick and Phoenix’s Devin Booker.

Damian Lillard added as Team USA finalist

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard has been added to the roster of finalists for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team, USA Basketball announced today. The addition was approved by the USA Basketball Board of Directors. The official 12-member 2016 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team roster will be announced later this year.

Named to the 2014-16 USA Basketball Men’s National Team in January 2014, the 6-foot-3 guard was a finalist for the 2014 USA World Cup Team, and played in two exhibition games during the 2014 USA National Team Tour, recording seven points, three rebounds, three assists and one steal in 24 minutes of action in the USA’s 105-62 win against Dominican Republic on Aug. 20, 2014.

Currently in his fourth NBA season, Lillard in 2015-16 is averaging career-highs of 24.2 points (6th in the NBA) and 7.3 assists per game (7th in the NBA), while adding 4.4 rebounds per game, and shooting 41.8 percent from the field, 36.2 percent from 3-point and 86.5 percent from the foul line.

“I recently received a call from Damian, and during our conversation he expressed his desire to be considered for the U.S. Olympic Team and to remain involved with the USA National Team in the future as well,” said Jerry Colangelo, who has served as the managing director of the USA Men’s National Team since 2005. “Both Mike (Krzyzewski) and I feel like Damian is playing at a very high level and that he should be added to our list of Olympic finalists. Damian has been a member of the USA National Team since 2014, and he participated in National Team training camps in 2013 and 2014, so he does have equity in USA Basketball, which is always important to me.”

Trail Blazers putting up wins lately

The Trail Blazers didn’t just lose four starters during the offseason. They lost four starters who, along with Damian Lillard, comprised a unit that helped Portland win at least 50 games in back-to-back seasons. The revamped Blazers are building a new identity, though, and hanging tough in the Western Conference playoff race. An emerging CJ McCollum (20.7 ppg) has joined Lillard to form one of the NBA’s highest-scoring backcourts, and other young players such as guard Allen Crabbe (11.2 ppg) and center Meyers Leonard (9.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg) have made the most of their expanded roles. The Blazers (23-26) have won a season-high four consecutive games and eight of 10 to move into eighth place in the Western Conference, a half-game ahead of Utah (21-25). Portland is 4-1 on its seven-game homestand, which wraps up with games against Milwaukee on Tuesday and Toronto on Thursday.

– NBA News

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