Archive for the ‘ Portland Trail Blazers Blog ’ Category

Damian Lillard says Blazers need to get mean

Three of the last four Player of the Week winners in the NBA have used the Portland Trail Blazers’ porous defense as a springboard to earn the weekly honors.

The huge nights from Jimmy Butler, Anthony Davis and Kevin Love left Damian Lillard pondering the missing element behind Portland’s inability to slow down opponents this season. His solution is straightforward: The Blazers need a mean streak.

“That might be the change that needs to be made … is us just not being the nice team (where) everybody likes each other,” Lillard said following Blazers practice on Monday. “That’s a great story, but maybe we’ve got to play a much more mean game.”

From the outside, it seems like teams don’t feel much resistance going against the Blazers’ defense. Portland struggles guarding pick and rolls and locating opposing players in transition.

Oregonian

Quick Take: The Blazers are 9-10 this season. Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum are having excellent seasons. But the Blazers’ main story this season has been their defense. It’s been miserable. The squad has a league-worst defensive efficiency, through yesterday’s games.

Trail Blazers exercise contract options on Noah Vonleh and Shabazz Napier

The Portland Trail Blazers have exercised the fourth-year contract options on forward Noah Vonleh and guard Shabazz Napier.

Vonleh, 21, posted averages of 3.6 points (42.1% FG, 74.5% FT), 3.9 rebounds, 0.4 assists and 15.1 minutes in 78 games (56 starts) last season with the Trail Blazers after being acquired from the Charlotte Hornets on June 24, 2015. Vonleh was the ninth overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft.

Acquired on July 7 from the Orlando Magic in exchange for cash considerations, Napier, 24, has averaged 4.4 points (36.1% FG, 34.7% 3-PT, 76.2% FT), 1.6 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 15.2 minutes over two seasons with the Miami Heat and Orlando. Napier was originally selected as the 24th overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft.

Mason Plumlee played and started all 82 games last season for the Trail Blazers, averaging 9.1 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 25.4 minutes per outing. Although those assist numbers don’t pop out, Plumlee is versatile, an excellent passer, and nobody would be surprised were he to eventually put up a triple-double in a game. Here’s CSNNW with more:

Mason Plumlee and the pursuit of a triple-double

The growing question among the Trail Blazers is not whether center Mason Plumlee will record a triple-double this season, but how many.

“Oh, I can see him getting a lot of them,’’ Damian Lillard said Wednesday after Plumlee had eight points, 10 rebounds and seven assists in 24 minutes in the Blazers’ 88-84 exhibition win at Utah.

Two developments have led teammates to predict the esteemed accomplishment of recording double-figures in three categories.

First, Plumlee has developed a mid-range jump shot, which this preseason has graduated from offseason experiment to a legitimate part of his arsenal…

Second, the Blazers have added new offensive sets this season that will more often feature him in play-making positions. The new role builds off his effective playoffs, when he helped pick apart the Clippers with his athleticism, decision-making and passing.

Trail Blazers waive Luis Montero

The Trail Blazers waived guard Luis Montero today.

Signed as an undrafted free agent on July 9, 2015, Montero played in 12 games for the Trail Blazers as a rookie in 2015-16, averaging 1.2 points (26.3% FG, 11.1% 3-PT, 75.0% FT), 0.3 rebounds and 0.1 assists.

During the 2016 NBA preseason, Montero recorded three points (1-1 3-PT), one assist and one block in his lone contest against Utah on Oct. 3.

Portland’s roster now stands at 17 players.

Trail Blazers sign Greg Stiemsma

The Trail Blazers on Monday signed center Greg Stiemsma to a training camp contract.

In four NBA seasons with Boston, Minnesota, New Orleans and Toronto, Stiemsma (6-11, 260) has averages of 3.2 points (50.9% FG, 70.5% FT), 3.3 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 1.14 steals and 15.0 minutes in 203 career games (42 starts).

He will wear No. 54 for the Trail Blazers.

Noah Vonleh out 3-4 weeks after surgery

Noah Vonleh out 3-4 weeks after surgery

Trail Blazers forward Noah Vonleh underwent a procedure today to remove a bone fragment from his right thigh musculature.

Dr. Evan Ellis performed the procedure at Rebound in Vancouver, Washington.

The expected recovery time is 3-4 weeks.

Vonheh played 15.1 minutes per game in the 2015-16 season for the Blazers, averaging 3.6 points and 3.9 rebounds. That is backup-level court time, though he started in 56 of 78 games played.

Festus Ezeli undergoes knee injection

Festus Ezeli undergoes knee surgery

The Trail Blazers announced today that center Festus Ezeli had his left knee injected with a bone marrow aspirate concentrate and Orthovisc today in Chicago.

The injection, performed by Dr. Brian Cole, is intended to alleviate pain and improve function.

Ezeli will be sidelined for six weeks.

The Blazers’ big man rotation mostly consists of role players. Ezeli, who comes to the Blazers after three seasons on the Warriors, has a chance to do big things and rise above the rest, if he’s up for it. He averaged 7.0 points, 5.6 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game last season for Golden State, but that was in just 16.7 minutes per outing, which is very solid.

Trail Blazers sign Grant Jerrett

The Trail Blazers have signed forward Grant Jerrett to a training camp contract, team president of basketball operations Neil Olshey announced today.

Jerrett, 23, last played in the NBA as a rookie in 2014-15, averaging 2.0 points (26.9% FG), 1.1 rebounds, 0.4 assists and 6.4 minutes in eight games with the Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz.

An early entry draft candidate out of the University of Arizona, Jerrett (6-10, 235) averaged 14.5 points (44.5% FG, 37.6% 3-PT, 76.3% FT), 6.4 rebounds, 1.0 assist and 28.9 minutes over two seasons (2013-14, 2014-15) with the Idaho Stampede and Oklahoma City Blue of the NBA Development League.

Jerrett was acquired by Oklahoma City in a draft day trade after originally being selected by the Trail Blazers in the second round (40th overall) of the 2013 NBA Draft.

Blazers sign CJ McCollum to contract extension

The Trail Blazers today signed guard CJ McCollum to a contract extension to bring him under contract through the 2020-21 season, president of basketball operations Neil Olshey announced.

It is reportedly a four-year extension, worth $106 million total.

The reigning winner of the Most Improved Player Award, McCollum averaged 20.8 points (44.8% FG, 41.7% 3PT, 82.7% FT), 3.2 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 1.21 steals and 34.8 minutes in 80 games (all starts) last season.

“I’m ecstatic to be able to extend my career in Portland and grateful for the trust and the opportunity the organization has provided for me,” said McCollum. “Since I arrived in Oregon I’ve considered it home and look forward to building something special, not only on the court, but in the community as well.”

Portland selected McCollum, 24, with the 10th overall pick in the first round of the 2013 NBA Draft out of Lehigh University.

“CJ is a foundational player and an essential member of the core of this team,” said Olshey. “We are excited about his long term commitment to our organization”

In three seasons with the Trail Blazers, McCollum holds averages of 12.7 points (44.3% FG, 40.8% 3PT, 78.4% FT), 2.2 rebounds, 2.4 assists, 0.86 steals and 23.5 minutes in 180 career games (83 starts).

McCollum increased his scoring average by 14.0 points from the 2014-15 season last year and finished ninth in the NBA with 197 3-pointers, the fourth-most by a Trail Blazer in a single season and the most by a Trail Blazer while shooting at least 40% from the three-point line.

Trail Blazers re-sign Maurice Harkless

Trail Blazers re-sign Maurice Harkless

The Trail Blazers on Wednesday re-signed forward Maurice Harkless.

According to the Oregonian, it is a four-year deal worth “upwards of $42 million.”

“Moe is an impact player with a bright future and a high upside,” said president of basketball operations Neil Olshey. “We look forward to his continued growth and are pleased he chose to make a long term commitment to the Trail Blazers.”

Harkless, 23, averaged 6.4 points (47.4% FG, 27.9% 3-PT, 62.2% FT), 3.6 rebounds, 0.9 assists, 0.62 steals and 18.7 minutes in 78 games (14 starts) with the Trail Blazers last season.

“I’m excited to be back with the Blazers, ready to continue to grow as a team with this group of incredible guys and coaches, and build on what we accomplished last season,” said Harkless. “Portland has become a city I’ve grown to love and I’m happy to say that I’ll be here for the next four years. I’m grateful to Mr. Allen and the organization for the belief they’ve shown in me and this opportunity they have provided for me.”

In 2015-16, his first season with the Trail Blazers, Harkless scored in double figures 23 times, eight of which came in the final 10 games of the season. He averaged 11.9 points on 50.0% shooting, and hauled in 6.6 rebounds in his 14 starts.

In four NBA seasons with Orlando and Portland, Harkless holds career averages of 6.7 points (45.9% FG, 30.0% 3-PT, 58.9% FT), 3.5 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.95 steals and 21.7 minutes in 279 games (118 starts).

Originally selected by Orlando with the 15th overall pick in the first round of the 2012 NBA Draft out of St. John’s, Portland acquired Harkless on July 14, 2015 in exchange for a 2020 second round pick.

Trail Blazers sign guard Tim Quarterman

Trail Blazers sign guard Tim Quarterman

The Trail Blazers have signed free agent guard Tim Quarterman to a partially-guaranteed training camp contract, team president of basketball operations Neil Olshey announced today.

Undrafted out of LSU, Quarterman (6-6, 187) posted averages of 11.2 points (41.5% FG, 34.3% 3PT, 63.2% FT), 4.6 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 0.97 steals in 33 games (27 starts) his junior 2015-16 season.

Quarterman, 21, played three seasons for the Tigers, averaging 8.4 points (39.7% FG, 31.0% 3PT, 66.0% FT), 3.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.04 steals in 98 games (43 starts).

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.

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