Trail Blazers sign Wes Iwundu

The Portland Trail Blazers have signed forward Wes Iwundu to a contract, it was announced today by General Manager Joe Cronin.

The deal is reportedly for training camp purposes.

An NBA veteran of five seasons, Iwundu has appeared in 226 career games (51 starts) and accrued averages of 4.4 points (40.8% FG, 79.8% FT), 2.5 rebounds and 0.9 assists in 16.9 minutes per game for Orlando (2017-20), Dallas (2020-21), New Orleans (2020-21) and Atlanta (2021-22).

Trail Blazers announce numerous basketball operations staff moves

Portland Trail Blazers general manager Joe Cronin announced the following additions to the basketball operations staff today:

Jonah Herscu joins the Trail Blazers as an Assistant Coach after spending the past three seasons with the Sacramento Kings. Herscu began with Sacramento as an advance scout in 2019 before being named an assistant coach in 2021. Prior to the Kings, Herscu spent three seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers as an advance scout and player development assistant (2018-19), and assistant video coordinator (2016-18). He arrives in Portland with 14 seasons of experience in the NBA, NBA G League, and WNBA.

David Adkins has joined the Trail Blazers coaching staff as Director of Player Development, bringing over 29 years of coaching and player development expertise with him to Portland. Adkins spent the 2021-22 season in Los Angeles as a player development coach for the Clippers and the top assistant for the team’s G League affiliate, the Agua Caliente Clippers. Before that, Adkins worked for seven seasons with the Washington Wizards as an assistant coach and director of player development.

Tina Thompson enters her first season as a scout for the Trail Blazers after serving as the head coach of the Virginia Cavaliers women’s basketball team from 2018-2022. Thompson’s storied playing career culminated in her induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018. She is a four-time WNBA Champion with the Houston Comets, a nine-time WNBA All-Star and an eight-time All-WNBA honoree. Internationally, Thompson earned championships in the Russian National League, EuroLeague and Romanian National League while also earning gold medals with Team USA at the 2004 and 2008 Olympics. As a part of the 25th anniversary of the WNBA in 2021, the USC alum was named to The W25, commemorating the top 25 WNBA players of all time.

Dale Boyd begins in his first season as the Assistant Strength Coach in 2022-23. Boyd spent the 2021-22 season as the assistant strength and conditioning coach and sports scientist for Overtime Elite after previously holding an internship with P3 in Atlanta in 2021. Boyd enjoyed a stint in the NBA G League as the head strength and conditioning coach for the Austin Spurs in 2020-21 and returns to the state of Oregon, where he was the assistant strength and conditioning coach for the Oregon Men’s Basketball program during the 2019-20 season.

Swenge Lomani started with the Trail Blazers in March 2022 as an International Scout. A French native, he grew up playing basketball and played in the minor leagues in France. Lomani became an agent at the age of 21 and spent the next 13 years helping to advise and develop young players on and off the court in both basketball and football.

Jason Luhnow enters his first season as a full-time Assistant Video Coordinator after joining the Trail Blazers as a video intern in January of 2022. Luhnow played basketball at Lake Oswego High School before becoming a standout player at Lewis and Clark College. Post-graduation, Luhnow played for the Woodville Warriors of the National Basketball League One division in Australia.

Nico Mathieu enters the 2022-23 season as an International Scout for the Trail Blazers after most recently serving as a consultant for the San Antonio Spurs since 2018. The French native began his scouting career working independently for several French clubs starting in 2014. In 2017, Mathieu became a scout for Châlons-Reims of the LNB Pro A, the top-tier division of French Basketball and then transitioned to scouting for ASVEL’s Academy which produced French Champion U21 (2021 & 2022), French U17 Cup (2022) and French Champion U18 (2022) teams. In 2018, along with consulting for the Spurs, he scouted for JL Bourg, also of the LNB Pro A division in France.

Jacob Mooallem joins the Trail Blazers in his first season as the team’s Analytics Coach. Mooallem spent the past two seasons as an assistant coach for the New Zealand Breakers of the National Basketball League and previously worked as a video scout at DraftExpress, working closely with current Trail Blazers assistant general manager, Mike Schmitz. The West Palm Beach, Fla. native served as head video manager at Indiana University, graduating in 2020.

Katherine Overman enters her first season as a Sr. Data Scientist for Portland with research and development. Overman earned her Ph.D. in Physics at Emory University in 2022, where she did her research modeling animal behavior patterns, specifically with fruit flies. Prior to that, she graduated from Augusta University, with a double major in Math and Physics.

Juanita Samborski is joining the Trail Blazers as a Software Developer with research and development. Samborski has extensive experience as a freelance developer, creating functional, intuitive user interfaces for clients in a variety of fields. She graduated from the University of Washington with a certificate in Full Stack Development, after graduating from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Arts.

Ikenna Smart joined the Trail Blazers in January of 2022 as an Assistant Video Coordinator. Smart most recently worked with the Alabama men’s basketball program as a graduate assistant from 2020-2022 where he supported the defensive coordinator and analytics team while assisting with player development. Smart played college basketball for Wake Forest in 2018-2019 as a graduate transfer and earned a master’s degree in Liberal Studies with a concentration in Global Studies. Before transferring to Wake Forest, Smart spent four seasons at University of Buffalo.

Micah Smith joins the team as Assistant Athletic Trainer after most recently serving one season as the head athletic trainer for the Wisconsin Herd of the NBA G League. He is a Certified Athletic Trainer (ATC) in addition to holding credentials as a Corrective Exercise Specialist (CES) and Performance Enhancement Specialist (PES). Smith holds a Master of Science in Health Care Administration from LeTourneau and a Master of Science in Sports Rehabilitation and Sports Psychology from California University of Pennsylvania.

Trevor Smith is joining the team as a Software Engineer and will work with the research and development group in architecting tools and data processes, helping develop our internal systems for supporting workflows and decision-making. Smith is an experienced full-stack developer, having worked in a few roles in multiple fields – latest supporting non-profits at Field Day. He is a graduate of University of Oregon, with additional certifications from immersion software engineering programs.

Taylor Walden joined the Trail Blazers as Manager of Performance Science in March 2022. Walden brings a decade of experience tracking and analyzing performance data to Portland’s health and performance staff. She most recently worked as a Player Health Operations Manager at the NBA’s league office since 2017. Prior to that, Walden spent five years working for the United States Olympic Committee in various sports medicine roles. A native of Southern California, Walden is a graduate of Pace University where she played soccer.

Trail Blazers sign Isaiah Miller, Olivier Sarr, Jared Rhoden and Devontae Cacok

The Portland Trail Blazers have signed forward Devontae Cacok, guard Isaiah Miller, guard Jared Rhoden and center Olivier Sarr to contracts, it was announced today by General Manager Joe Cronin.

The signings are likely for Blazers training camp purposes.

An NBA veteran of three seasons, Cacok has appeared in 36 career games with the Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs, posting averages of 2.5 points (62.1% FG, 50.0% FT) and 2.2 rebounds in 6.3 minutes per game. While playing for San Antonio during the 2021-22 campaign, the UNC Wilmington product also appeared in 23 games (22 starts) for the Austin Spurs of the NBA G League, averaging 17.4 points (52.8% FG, 35.1% 3-PT, 63.2% FT), 11.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists and 28.7 minutes per game.

Miller joins the Trail Blazers after spending the 2021-22 season with the Iowa Wolves of the NBA G League where he appeared in 32 games (three starts) and accrued averages of 12.7 points (48.5% FG, 51.0% FT), 4.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.72 steals in 24.2 minutes per game. The UNC Greensboro alum posted a season-high of 30 points to go along with six rebounds and three steals against the Texas Legends on Jan. 23.

Rhoden, an undrafted rookie out of Seton Hall, appeared in 122 career games (72 starts) over four seasons for the Pirates, posting averages of 10.4 points (40.7% FG, 31.2% 3-PT, 75.4% FT), 5.5 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.00 steal in 26.1 minutes per game. A 2022 All-Big East First Team honoree after averaging 15.5 points and 6.7 rebounds, Rhoden left Seton Hall as one of 12 players in program history to log more than 1,200 points and 600 rebounds in a career.

A French native and Kentucky alum, Sarr appeared in 22 games (two starts) and averaged 7.0 points (57.4% FG, 44.8% 3-PT, 82.8 FT%), 4.2 rebounds, 0.9 assists and 19.1 minutes per game for the Oklahoma City Thunder during his rookie campaign in the 2021-22 season.

Trail Blazers waive Norvel Pelle

The Portland Trail Blazers have waived center Norvel Pelle, it was announced today by General Manager Joe Cronin.

Pelle was originally signed to a contract on August 3, 2022.

Per the Oregonian, “Pelle, 29, has played in 40 NBA games over the past three seasons with zero starts. He went undrafted in 2014 and has spent several years in the G League. He played three games last season with Utah while on a 10-day contract.”

Injury update on Trail Blazers rookie Shaedon Sharpe

Portland Trail Blazers rookie guard Shaedon Sharpe underwent further evaluation of a small labral tear in his left shoulder, and it has been determined that surgery will not be required, the team announced today.

Sharpe will continue rehabilitation and is expected to be available for Fall training camp.

The injury occurred during Portland’s Summer League game against Detroit on Thursday, July 7.

Trail Blazers sign rookie Jabari Walker

The Portland Trail Blazers have signed rookie forward Jabari Walker to a standard NBA contract, it was announced today by General Manager Joe Cronin.

Walker, 19, was selected by Portland with the 57th overall pick of the 2022 NBA Draft. He has played in three games for the Trail Blazers at the 2022 NBA Summer League, posting averages of 13.0 points (68.2% FG, 37.5% 3-PT, 66.7% FT), 8.3 rebounds and 1.0 assist in 19.6 minutes per game.

Walker (6-9, 215) played two seasons at Colorado where he averaged 11.5 points (47.9% FG, 39.9% 3-PT, 78.3% FT), 7.2 rebounds and 0.9 assists in 59 games (33 starts). He was named All-Pac-12 First Team as a sophomore in 2021-22 after averaging 14.6 points (fourth in the Pac-12) and 9.4 rebounds (first in the Pac-12) to go with 1.2 assists in 33 games (all starts). He recorded 17 double-doubles in 2021-22, ranking 10th among all NCAA Division 1 players and leading the Pac-12 Conference. Walker was a 2020-21 Pac-12 Conference All-Freshman Team selection after averaging 7.6 points and 4.3 rebounds during his first collegiate campaign.

A native of Wichita, Kansas, Walker is the son of 10-year NBA veteran Samaki Walker.

Trail Blazers sign Damian Lillard to huge contract extension

The Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday night, July 9, signed guard Damian Lillard to a multi-year contract extension, it was announced by General Manager Joe Cronin.

The two-year extension keeps Lillard under contract with the Trail Blazers through the 2026-27 season.

Per the Oregonian, “the extension, which is worth a total of $122 million and runs through the 2026-27 season, ups Lillard’s current contract with the Blazers to five years and almost $270 million. That puts him among one of the top earners in NBA history at an estimated $451 million in total salary.”

“Damian Lillard is the greatest player in franchise history and an all-time NBA talent,” said Cronin. “In signing this contract extension, Damian continues his commitment to the city of Portland and the organization. We look forward to his continued excellence here with the Trail Blazers for many years to come.”

Selected as one of the 75 greatest players in NBA history ahead of the 2021-22 season, Lillard is the only player in franchise history with six All-NBA honors and one of three players to be named All-NBA First Team while with the Trail Blazers (2017-18). Lillard is a six-time NBA All-Star, a 2021 Olympic Gold Medalist and the unanimous 2012-13 NBA Rookie of the Year.

Winner of the 2018-19 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award, the 2019-20 Magic Johnson Award and the 2020-21 Twyman-Stokes Teammate of the Year Award, Lillard holds career averages of 24.6 points (43.7% FG, 37.3% 3-PT, 89.3% FT), 4.2 rebounds, 6.6 assists and 0.96 steals in 711 games (all starts) over 10 seasons with the Trail Blazers.

More from the Oregonian: “Lillard, 31, is coming off the first injured-plagued season of his NBA career, playing in a career-low 29 games. He underwent abdominal surgery Jan. 13 and last played for the Blazers on Dec. 31. ”

The sixth overall pick of the 2012 NBA Draft out of Weber State, Lillard has led the Trail Blazers to eight postseason appearances. He holds career playoff averages of 25.7 points (41.2% FG, 36.9% 3-PT, 88.7% FT), 4.5 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 1.18 steals in 61 games (all starts).

Lillard is the all-time franchise leader in scoring average, three-pointers made (2,143) and free throws made (3,917). Additionally, he ranks second in Trail Blazers history in points (17,510), second in field goals (5,725), second in minutes (25,835), third in assists (4,726), fourth in games played (711) and seventh in steals (682).

Trail Blazers rookie Shaedon Sharpe out with shoulder injury

An MRI on Friday revealed that Portland Trail Blazers rookie guard Shaedon Sharpe has a small labral tear in his left shoulder.

The injury occurred during Portland’s Summer League game against Detroit on Thursday, July 7.

Sharpe will begin immediate rest and rehabilitation. He will miss the remainder of Summer League and will be reevaluated in 10-14 days.

Trail Blazers re-sign Drew Eubanks

The Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday, July 7 re-signed center Drew Eubanks, it was announced by General Manager Joe Cronin.

“Drew’s work ethic and style of play left an imprint on us last season,” said Cronin. “His toughness and ability to finish at the rim will be assets to our frontcourt depth.”

Eubanks, 25, played in 22 games (all starts) for the Trail Blazers last season, posting averages of 14.5 points (64.6% FG, 78.4% FT), 8.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 29.5 minutes per game. He scored 20-plus points on five occasions for Portland and recorded six double-doubles. For the 2021-22 season, Eubanks averaged career-highs of 7.7 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 71 games (31 starts) with Portland and San Antonio.

A four-year NBA veteran out of Reynolds High School in Troutdale and Oregon State University, Eubanks (6-9, 245) holds career averages of 5.9 points (59.0% FG, 75.3% FT), 4.4 rebounds and 0.9 assists in 170 games (37 starts) with Portland and San Antonio.