Archive for the ‘ Portland Trail Blazers Blog ’ Category

On the Blazers win vs Celtics

Here’s the Oregonian reporting on the Trail Blazers, who are off to an excellent start this season and on Sunday enjoyed a big win against the Boston Celtics:

For all the Blazers had accomplished heading into Sunday’s game against the Celtics, one thing had eluded them: A close victory.

Eight of their first nine wins had come by double-digits and they owned the NBA’s third-highest point differential (10.0 points per game) prior to facing the Celtics. What’s more, the Blazers had lost their only close games of the season, falling 125-124 to the Washington Wizards in overtime and 114-110 to the Los Angeles Lakers. They also failed to capitalize on chances down the stretch in a closer-than-it-sounds 120-111 loss to the Miami Heat.

So it was notable Sunday that they won a two-possession game in which they had to hold off the Celtics, who had rallied from a 21-point deficit to make things interesting in the closing minutes.

“You’ve got to win close games in this league,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. “I think a lot of times, winning close games over the course of your season, makes the difference of how you look back on your season.”

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Blazers owner Paul Allen dead at 65

Tragedy has struck the worlds of pro sports, technology and beyond as Paul Allen has died. Here’s the Oregonian reporting:

Paul Allen, longtime owner of the Portland Trail Blazers and one of the world’s richest men, died Monday in Seattle from complications from non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He was 65.

Allen, born in Seattle in 1953, was a fixture in the Northwest for most of his life. He co-founded Microsoft with childhood friend Bill Gates and built the startup computer company into one of the world’s most successful corporations, turning Allen into a billionaire.

Forbes values his fortune at $20.3 billion, making him the world’s 21st richest person. The magazine tallies his total philanthropic contributions at $2 billion.

Allen used his considerable wealth in a variety of ways over the years, investing in a host of companies, donating to countless charities and accumulating pricey toys, and the last three decades of life were defined by his passions: sports, the arts and science. After a life-threatening bout with Hodgkin’s disease, Allen resigned from Microsoft in 1983. And although he retained a significant chunk of the company’s stock, Allen shifted his priorities to his passions.

STATEMENT FROM ADAM SILVER

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver released the following statement today regarding the passing of Portland Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen:

“Paul Allen was the ultimate trail blazer – in business, philanthropy and in sports. As one of the longest-tenured owners in the NBA, Paul brought a sense of discovery and vision to every league matter large and small. He was generous with his time on committee work, and his expertise helped lay the foundation for the league’s growth internationally and our embrace of new technologies. He was a valued voice who challenged assumptions and conventional wisdom and one we will deeply miss as we start a new season without him. Our condolences go to his family, friends and the entire Trail Blazers organization.”

STATEMENT FROM PAUL ALLEN’S FAMILY

This is a time of profound loss for Mr. Allen’s family. On their behalf, Paul’s sister, Ms. Jody Allen, has released the following statement.

“My brother was a remarkable individual on every level. While most knew Paul Allen as a technologist and philanthropist, for us he was a much loved brother and uncle, and an exceptional friend.

Paul’s family and friends were blessed to experience his wit, warmth, his generosity and deep concern. For all the demands on his schedule, there was always time for family and friends. At this time of loss and grief for us – and so many others – we are profoundly grateful for the care and concern he demonstrated every day.”

STATEMENT FROM BLAZERS PRESIDENT & CEO CHRIS McGOWAN

“I was fortunate to work with Paul Allen for the last six years, get to know him and witness all the passion he put into making the world a better place. He was an amazing mentor and a great leader for our organization. He truly loved the Trail Blazers franchise, our city, our players, coaches and employees. We are deeply saddened by his loss and the thoughts of Rip City are with his family.”

STATEMENT FROM THE LAKERS

The following statement was issued by CEO and Controlling Owner Jeanie Buss on behalf of the Lakers organization:

“We are terribly saddened by the news of the passing of Paul Allen. He was dedicated to the city of Portland and his Trail Blazers teams reflected his commitment to hard work and excellence. Our condolences go out to his family, friends, colleagues and the Trail Blazers fans.”

Blazers exercise contract options on Caleb Swanigan and Zach Collins

The Portland Trail Blazers have exercised 2019-20 team options on the rookie contracts of forward Caleb Swanigan and forward/center Zach Collins.

The Trail Blazers acquired Collins, the 10th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, in a draft day trade and selected Swanigan with the 26th overall pick in the same draft.

In his rookie 2017-18 season with the Trail Blazers, Collins (7-0, 235) posted averages of 4.4 points (39.8% FG, 31.0% 3-PT, 64.3% FT), 3.3 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.26 steals, 0.47 blocks and 15.8 minutes in 66 games (one start).

Swanigan (6-9, 250) averaged 2.3 points (40.0% FG, 12.5% 3-PT, 66.7% FT), 2.0 rebounds, 0.5 assists, 0.19 steals, 0.11 blocks and 7.0 minutes in 27 games (three starts) during his rookie 2017-18 season.

The Portland Trail Blazers have waived guard Gary Payton II, forward Cameron Oliver, center Chinanu Onuaku.

All three players were signed to training camp contracts last month.

Oliver, 22, averaged 1.0 point, 2.3 rebounds, 0.3 assists and 4.2 minutes in three games for the Trail Blazers this preseason.

Onuaku, 21, posted preseason averages of 3.3 points, 1.3 rebounds, 0.3 assists and 5.2 minutes in three games.

Payton II, 25, finished the preseason averaging 4.0 points, 1.0 rebound, 1.3 assists and 8.1 minutes in three games.

Portland’s roster stands at 15 players entering the season opener on Oct. 18 vs. the L.A. Lakers at Moda Center.

Here’s the Oregonian pondering the career of former NBA player Cliff Robinson:

Robinson is fifth all time among Trail Blazers career scoring leaders with 10,405 total points and comes in at No. 47 overall on the NBA’s list of all-time scoring leaders following the 2018 season with 19,591 total points. But for all of his accomplishments, Robinson was selected as an All-Star just once in his career during the 1994 season, which was one year after he earned the NBA Sixth Man of the Year award in 1993. He also made the NBA All-Defensive Second Team twice in 2000 and 2002.

A fantastic two-way player, the 6-foot-10 Robinson was one of the best shooting big men the game has ever seen. He was the tallest player to make more than 1,000 three-pointers until he was surpassed by Dirk Nowitzki and Rashard Lewis, making 1,253 threes in his career. Robinson was also an iron man. He rarely missed games due to injury and still holds the Trail Blazers franchise record for consecutive games played with 461.

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Here’s NBC Sports Northwest reporting on a pair of Trail Blazers players who will be busy with international competition as the NBA season approaches:

When the Portland Trail Blazers get together for pre-camp workouts soon, they are going to be without two players who were starters last season. And those two players could be missing right up to or past the start of training camp on Sept. 25.

Al-Farouq Aminu (Nigeria) and Jusuf Nurkic (Bosnia and Herzegovena) are scheduled to represent their countries in the 2019 FIBA World Cup qualifying rounds. The format of the World Cup has been changed and teams now will be required to play qualifying rounds in 2018 to move into the 2019 Cup finals, scheduled to be played in China.

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Trail Blazers sign Gary Payton II, Cameron Oliver and Chinanu Onuaku

The Portland Trail Blazers have signed forward Cameron Oliver, center Chinanu Onuaku and guard Gary Payton II, it was announced today by president of basketball operations Neil Olshey.

The deals are likely all non-guaranteed and just for training camp.

Oliver (6-8, 225) averaged 10.8 points (49.7% FG, 33.7% 3-PT, 55.9% FT), 7.1 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 39 NBA G League games played with Wisconsin and Delaware during his rookie 2017-18 season. Undrafted out of Nevada, Oliver, 22, earned All-Mountain West First Team and Defensive Player of the Year honors his final 2016-17 season.

Onuaku (6-10, 245) has logged six career games for the Houston Rockets over the past two seasons, averaging 3.0 points, 2.3 rebounds, 0.7 assists and 12.3 minutes. Selected by the Rockets with the 37th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft out of Louisville, Onuaku, 21, holds career NBA G League averages of 12.3 points (61.7% FG, 70.7% FT), 10.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.07 steals, 1.39 blocks and 26.8 minutes in 83 games (79 starts) with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.

Payton II (6-3, 190) holds career NBA averages of 3.1 points (39.6% FG, 20.6% 3-PT, 42.9% FT), 1.9 rebounds, 1.2 assists and 11.0 minutes in 29 games (six starts) over the past two seasons with the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers. Payton II, 25, went undrafted out of Oregon State, where he was a two-time Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year winner and two-time First Team All-Pac-12 member.

In two NBA G League seasons split between Rio Grande Valley, the South Bay Lakers and Wisconsin Herd, Payton II averaged 15.1 points, 6.4 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 2.00 steals and 31.7 minutes in 69 games (54 starts).

Oliver will wear No. 23, Onuaku will wear No. 21 and Payton II will wear No. 5 for Portland.

The Trail Blazers will tip-off their 2018-19 training camp on Monday, Sept. 24.

Trail Blazers re-sign Jusuf Nurkic

The Trail Blazers yesterday re-signed center Jusuf Nurkic.

According to ESPN.com, the deal is a a four-year, $48 million contract.

Nurkic averaged 14.3 points (50.5% FG, 63.0% FT), 9.0 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.41 blocks and 26.4 minutes in 79 games (all starts) for the Trail Blazers last season.

“As a 23-year old starting center, Jusuf is an integral part of the core of this roster,” said Olshey. “He has been an impactful addition since joining our team and we are excited about the prospect of this long-term commitment leading to continued individual and team success.”

According to ESPN.com, “Nurkic, 23, turned down a more lucrative four-year deal several months ago, but the marketplace has tightened and he chose to take this deal on Friday, sources said. The deal includes a partial guarantee in the fourth year.”

Nurkic averaged career bests in points and rebounds last season while leading the Trail Blazers with 27 double-doubles. He finished tied for ninth in the NBA in blocks per game and tied for 13th in the league in rebounds per game.

The Trail Blazers acquired Nurkic from Denver on February 13, 2017 along with a 2017 first round draft pick in exchange for Mason Plumlee, a 2018 second round draft pick and cash considerations. After joining Portland, Nurkic averaged 15.2 points (50.8% FG, 66.0% FT), 10.4 rebounds, 3.2 assists, 1.90 blocks and 29.2 minutes in 20 games (19 starts) to finish the 2016-17 season.

Originally selected by the Chicago Bulls with the 16th overall pick in the first round of the 2014 NBA Draft, Nurkic was traded to Denver in a draft night deal.

In four seasons with Denver and Portland, Nurkic holds career averages of 10.4 points (48.5% FG, 61.2% FT), 7.3 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 21.6 minutes in 238 games (157 starts).

Trail Blazers sign Seth Curry

The Portland Trail Blazers have signed free agent guard Seth Curry.

Curry, 27, joins the Trail Blazers from the Dallas Mavericks, where he averaged 12.8 points (48.1% FG, 42.5% 3-PT, 85.0% FT), 2.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 1.13 steals and 29.0 minutes in 70 games (42 starts) during the 2016-17 season. He missed the 2017-18 season while recovering from a stress fracture in his lower left leg.

“We expect Seth to be an impactful addition to our backcourt as his skill set will translate immediately,” Olshey said. “He is an elite shooter with the ability to play on or off the ball.”

After going undrafted out of Duke in 2013, Curry (6-2, 185) played in one game each for Memphis and Cleveland during the 2013-14 season, and two games for Phoenix during the 2014-15 season before signing with Sacramento for the 2015-16 season.

For his career, Curry holds averages of 10.2 points (47.3% FG, 43.2% 3-PT, 84.4% FT), 2.1 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 23.2 minutes in 118 games (51 starts).

He will wear No. 5 for the Trail Blazers.

Trail Blazers sign Gary Trent Jr

The Portland Trail Blazers have signed rookie guard Gary Trent Jr.

Acquired in a draft day trade with Sacramento, Trent Jr. was the 37th overall pick in the second round of the 2018 NBA Draft.

Trent Jr., 19, averaged 14.5 points (41.5% FG, 40.2% 3-PT, 87.6% FT), 4.2 rebounds, 1.4 assists, 1.16 steals and 33.8 minutes in 37 games (all starts) as a freshman at Duke during the 2017-18 season.

Trent Jr. (6-6, 209) was one of 10 finalists for the 2017-18 Julius Erving Small Forward of the Year Award and was named to the 2018 NCAA Tournament All-Midwest Region Team. He finished third in the ACC in three-pointers made (97) and was the fourth freshman in Duke history to lead the team in three-point field goal percentage.

He will wear No. 9 for the Trail Blazers

Trail Blazers sign Nik Stauskas

The Portland Trail Blazers signed free agent guard Nik Stauskas today.

Stauskas, 24, holds career averages of 7.0 points (38.6% FG, 34.9% 3-PT, 80.1% FT), 2.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 21.1 minutes in 267 games (63 starts) over four seasons with Sacramento, Philadelphia and Brooklyn.

“Nik is a versatile and talented perimeter player that will seamlessly fit into our style of play,” said Olshey.

Selected by the Kings with the eighth overall pick of the 2014 NBA Draft out of Michigan, Stauskas (6-6, 205) spent one season in Sacramento before playing his next two years in Philadelphia. He split the 2017-18 season with Philadelphia and Brooklyn.

A native of Mississauga, Canada, Stauskas averaged a career-best 9.5 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists during the 2016-17 season with the 76ers.

The Portland Trail Blazers have signed center Georgios Papagiannis to a contract through the 2018-19 season.

Originally signed to a 10-day contract on March 8, Papagiannis holds career averages of 4.2 points (51.0% FG, 85.7% FT), 3.2 rebounds, 0.8 assists and 12.4 minutes in 38 games over two seasons with the Sacramento Kings.

Selected by Phoenix with the 13th overall pick in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft out of Greece, Papagiannis, 20, was dealt to Sacramento in a draft day trade.

In 33 games over two seasons with the NBA G League’s Reno Bighorns, Papagiannis (7-2, 240) posted averages of 13.7 points (51.3% FG, 77.2% FT), 8.6 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 2.24 blocked shots and 30.6 minutes.

The Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday signed center Georgios Papagiannis to a 10-day contract.

Papagiannis, 20, holds career averages of 4.2 points (51.0% FG, 85.7% FT), 3.2 rebounds, 0.8 assists and 12.4 minutes in 38 games over two seasons with the Sacramento Kings.

Originally selected by Phoenix with the 13th overall pick in the first round of the 2016 NBA Draft out of Greece, Papagiannis was dealt to Sacramento in a draft day trade.

In 33 games over two seasons with the NBA G League’s Reno Bighorns, Papagiannis (7-2, 240) posted averages of 13.7 points (51.3% FG, 77.2% FT), 8.6 rebounds, 0.7 assists, 2.24 blocked shots and 30.6 minutes.

He will wear No. 19 for the Trail Blazers.

The Portland Trail Blazers signed guard/forward Brandon Rush to a 10-day contract today.

A nine-year NBA veteran, Rush (6-6, 220) holds career averages of 6.8 points (42.6% FG, 40.2% 3-PT, 70.6% FT), 2.9 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 481 games (163 starts) playing for Indiana, Golden State, Utah and Minnesota. Rush played 47 games (33 starts) for the Timberwolves during the 2016-17 season, averaging 4.2 points (37.4% FG, 38.6% 3-PT, 72.2% FT), 2.1 rebounds, 1.0 assists and 21.9 minutes.

Rush was originally selected by the Trail Blazers with the 13th pick of the 2008 NBA draft before being traded to the Indiana Pacers.

He will wear No. 21 for the Trail Blazers.

The Chicago Bulls have acquired forward Noah Vonleh and cash considerations from the Portland Trail Blazers in exchange for the draft rights to Milovan Rakovic.

Vonleh (6-9, 245) is in his fourth NBA season, having seen time with Charlotte (2014-15) and Portland (2015-18). He was originally selected ninth-overall by the Hornets in the 2014 NBA Draft. Vonleh has posted career averages of 3.9 points and 4.5 rebounds through 210 games (109 starts) with a career field goal percentage of .450. In 2017-18, Vonleh is averaging 3.6 points and 5.1 rebounds through 33 games (12 starts). The Indiana University product was a McDonald’s All-American in 2013.

Rakovic, 32, was selected with the 60th overall pick in the second round of the 2007 NBA Draft by the Dallas Mavericks. A native of Serbia, he currently plays for Neuchatel in Switzerland.

Chicago’s roster stands at 17.

 

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The Trail Blazers are a modest 20-18 this season. A solid record, good for 7th best in the Western conference through Friday’s games, but not spectacular. More was expected. But not a lot more. There’s no reason to think this squad should be fantastic this year. But perhaps a bit better than they’ve been. Should that put the coach on the hot-seat? Not in our opinion. But as for the local chatter, here’s NBC Sports Northwest:

Amid chatter that Terry Stotts is on the coaching hot seat and in jeopardy of losing his job, several Trail Blazers players said their coach not only has the team’s attention and respect, but has become a rallying point for the players.

“We all know what’s going on,’’ veteran Ed Davis said. “The guys on the team, we read about it, and I know Coach does … that ‘Hot Seat’ stuff and things like that. Everybody sees it, and I know while I’m here, (along with) a bunch of the rest of the guys in the locker room, we are going to fight for Coach. Every night. There is no quit in us. He’s our leader.’’

The Blazers (20-18) are seventh in the Western Conference, but have a losing record at home (9-10), and have scuffled for much of the season with inconsistent, disjointed play that several times has led disgruntled Moda Center crowds to leave games early, and in exodus.

Stotts, who is under contract through next season, has become a lightening rod for fan discontent as the team has struggled offensively and at times looked unmotivated as it dropped games to bottom-tier teams like Atlanta, Brooklyn and Sacramento.

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Blazers Team Notes on Stotts

Now in his sixth season with the Trail Blazers, Terry Stotts was hired as the franchise’s 14th head coach on August 7, 2012. Stotts led the Trail Blazers to a 41-41 record in 2016-17 and has compiled a 243-205 record in fi ve-plus seasons with Portland. Stotts is the fourth-winningest coach in franchise history, and the fi rst Trail Blazers head coach since Mike Dunleavy (1998-2001) to reach the playoffs in four consecutive seasons (fourth overall in franchise history). Stotts was named the Western Conference Coach of the Month in March 2017 after guiding Portland to an NBA-best 13-3 record for the month. With Stotts at the helm, the Trail Blazers have ranked in the top-10 in scoring for each of the past four seasons (’13-14 to ’16-17).

Trail Blazers all-time scoring list

This is through Monday, December 11, 2017:

Trail Blazers All-Time Scoring List
Player, Total Points, Seasons Played

1. Clyde Drexler 18,040 (1983-95)
2. LaMarcus Aldridge 12,562 (2006-15)
3. Terry Porter 11,330 (1985-95)
4. Cliff Robinson 10,405 (1989-97)
5. Jerome Kersey 10,067 (1984-95)
6. Jim Paxson 10,003 (1979-88)
7. Geoff Petrie 9,732 (1970-76)
8. Damian Lillard 9,532 (2012-Current)
9. Mychal Thompson 9,215 (1978-86)
10. Rasheed Wallace 9,119 (1996-04)

Steve ‘Snapper’ Jones has died

Steve “Snapper” Jones, former Portland Trail Blazers player, team announcer and later NBA broadcaster, has passed away in Houston at age 75. Family members and friends confirmed Jones’ death this evening following a lengthy illness. Funeral services will be announced soon by the Jones family.

Jones played 64 games in a Trail Blazers uniform during the 1975-76 season, averaging 6.5 points per game in what would be his final year as a player. He was acquired by the Trail Blazers in October of 1975 for a sixth-round draft pick from the Golden State Warriors. The bulk of his pro career was spent in the American Basketball Association (ABA) where Jones was a three-time ABA All-Star and played for five franchises, including the San Antonio Spurs and Denver Rockets (now Nuggets) – both now teams in the NBA. His nine-year ABA/NBA pro career spanned 704 games, with an impressive 15.2 points per game average.

In more recent years, Jones carved a successful career as an NBA broadcaster, including providing color commentary for CBS Television when the Trail Blazers defeated the Philadelphia 76ers to win the 1977 NBA Championship. His broadcasting resume included work for ESPN/ABC, TBS, TNT, Fox Sports Net, USA Network and NBC, where he was an analyst for the “NBA on NBC” for more than a decade. Jones was also part of numerous Trail Blazers broadcasting tandems, including Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame honoree Bill Schonely.

“Steve was as positive and good-natured a broadcasting partner as I could have had,” said Schonely of Jones, who would be a broadcasting fixture with the Trail Blazers for 26 years. “He loved to call me ‘Pops’ as a nickname, and we worked very well together on Trail Blazers games during some of the early years of the franchise. He was a terrific guy.”

In March 2012, Jones was honored at center court of the then Rose Garden arena (now Moda Center) by the Trail Blazers for his years of service to the franchise as a player and broadcaster. Among his Trail Blazers broadcasting partners along with Schonely were Pat Lafferty, Pete Pranica, Mike Rice and Mike Barrett. Jones moved to Houston in 2008 where he resided until his death.

As a collegiate player, Jones played for the University of Oregon from 1961-64, leading the team in scoring during the 1963-64 season. Born in Alexandria, Louisiana, but raised in Portland, Jones was a standout player locally at Franklin High School, leading his squad to an Oregon state championship in 1959. His younger brother Nick Jones, also a highly-touted player at Franklin and later Oregon, played for the Golden State Warriors and was a member of the Trail Blazers Community Relations staff for several years.

Wade Baldwin undergoes thumb surgery

Portland Trail Blazers two-way guard Wade Baldwin underwent successful surgery to repair an ulnar collateral ligament tear in his right thumb, it was announced today by president of basketball operations Neil Olshey.

The procedure was performed by Dr. Michelle Carlson at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

The Trail Blazers signed Baldwin to a two-way contract on October 19. He is expected to miss six weeks.

Blazers bench off to good start

Here’s NBC Sports Northwest reporting on the Trail Blazers, whose bench has been a nice super-early season surprise:

One of the early season storylines during the Trail Blazers’ 3-1 start has been the emergence of a deep and effective bench.

Led by Evan Turner, Ed Davis and Pat Connaughton, the Blazers’ bench has the top offensive rating in the NBA (115.8), the third best net rating, and the third best plus/minus behind Toronto and the LA Clippers.

Never was the bench more on display than during Tuesday’s home opener against New Orleans, when the starters struggled and needed big games from Davis, Turner and rookie Caleb Swanigan to pull out a 103-93 victory.

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