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Steve Blake exercises Blazers contract option

Portland Trail Blazers guard Steve Blake has exercised his player option for the 2015-16 season, it was announced today by President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey.

Blake (6-3, 172) appeared in 81 games for the Trail Blazers last season. In 350 games (232 starts) over five seasons with Portland, Blake holds averages of 7.8 points (41.4% FG, 39.8% 3-PT, 78.2% FT), 2.2 rebounds and 4.5 assists.

For his career, Blake has averages of 6.7 points (40.1% FG, 38.5% 3-PT, 77.8% FT), 2.1 rebounds and 4.0 assists over 12 seasons with Washington, Portland, Milwaukee, Denver, L.A. Clippers, L.A. Lakers and Golden State.

Blake, 34, played four years at the University of Maryland, where he won an NCAA Championship in 2002, and was selected by the Washington Wizards with the ninth pick in the second round (38th overall) of the 2003 NBA Draft.

LaMarcus Aldridge had thumb surgery today

LaMarcus Aldridge had thumb surgery today

Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge underwent successful surgery today to repair the injured radial collateral ligament of his left thumb. Dr. Thomas J. Graham performed the procedure at the Cleveland Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio.

Aldridge is expected to be able to return basketball activity in approximately eight weeks.

The Blazers finished the regular season with a 51-31 record. They lost to the Memphis Grizzlies in the first round of the NBA playoffs, in five games.

In the regular season, Aldridge averaged 23.4 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. His season almost ended early due to his thumb injury, but he played through it.

Nic Batum knows he had a bad season

And Nic Batum aims to do something about it

Nicolas Batum knows he had a lousy season for the Portland Trail Blazers, who on Wednesday were eliminated in the first round of the 2015 NBA playoffs by the Memphis Grizzlies. Here’s the Oregonian reporting:

Nic Batum is aware that he had a disappointing season

“All I know is everybody has one bad year,” Batum said. “You have to learn from it. Why? And how can I get better?”

Batum said the first change will be how he manages his time in the offseason. He said his late decision to join the French National team last summer ended up over-extending him.

“Last year, I didn’t manage my offseason well,” Batum said. “I didn’t plan to go with the national team last summer, and when I did, I had already made plans to make appearances and camps. I didn’t rest.”

This summer, he said he will play for the French National Team, but he will rest before he reports in August.

Tim Frazier wins 2014-15 D-League MVP and Rookie of Year awards

Maine Red Claws guard Tim Frazier, currently a member of the Portland Trail Blazers, has been selected as both the 2014-2015 NBA Development League’s Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year, as voted on by the league’s 18 head coaches.

Frazier (6-1, 170, Penn State) played in 41 games for the Red Claws, 40 as a starter, averaging 16.1 points, 7.1 rebounds and 9.5 assists, good for second-best in the NBA D-League. Frazier led the NBA D-League with four triple-doubles while also recording 14 double-doubles for Maine. He scored a career-high 34 against the Delaware 87ers on Jan. 3, and led the team in scoring nine times and assists 37 times.

“There’s no question about it, Tim had an MVP-caliber season in Maine this year,” said Malcolm Turner, NBA D-League President. “It takes a special young man to be as consistently dominant as he was this season, and to do it as a rookie is even more impressive. It’s fitting that our coaches recognized his hard work and his talent by selecting him as both the MVP and the Rookie of the Year. We look forward to watching his game continue to mature as his NBA career unfolds.”

During his rookie campaign in Maine, Frazier was named NBA D-League Performer of the Week three times and was selected as a 2015 NBA D-League All-Star. He earned three GATORADE Call-Ups during the season, two to the Philadelphia 76ers and most recently to the Trail Blazers on March 30. In his first-ever NBA game on Feb. 9, Frazier dished out 11 assists in 35 minutes at Boston for Philadelphia. He recorded his first NBA double-double on April 15 when he recorded 13 points and 10 assists for Portland at Dallas. Frazier owns NBA career averages of 5.2 points, 5.5 assists and 2.5 rebounds in 11 games with the Sixers and Blazers.

“This season, Tim quickly established himself as one of the league’s elite guards with NBA potential,” said Red Claws Head Coach Scott Morrison. “It was an honor and a privilege to take the court with Tim this season and I hope to be watching his progression in the NBA for years to come.”

Frazier becomes the second player to earn MVP and Rookie of the Year honors in the same season, joining Devin Brown who achieved the feat in 2003.

Damian Lillard struggles in Blazers Game 1 loss to Grizzlies

The Memphis Grizzlies beat the Portland Trail Blazers 100-86 Sunday to take a 1-0 series lead. Blazers guard Damian Lillard struggled badly, shooting 5-of-21 for 14 points, eight rebounds and three assists. Here’s the Oregonian reporting:

Damian Lillard was locked in at long last. This was the stingy and smothering laser-like All-Star effort we’d been promised all week by the guard. It was the defensive performance of a lifetime.

Here was Lillard late Sunday night, long after the Blazers Game 1 loss against the Memphis Grizzlies, shutting down the scrutiny, one dress sock at a time. He’d already toweled off like a retiree watching a sunset. Now, the Blazers All-Star guard sat on a folding chair, back to the room, checking text messages.

It was so crowded with media in Lillard’s corner of the locker room that when guard Steve Blake emerged from the showers he had to dispatch a locker room attendant through the mob of cameras to retrieve his clothes. Also, during the Lillard filibuster a reporter from TNT asked Chris Kaman if he wouldn’t mind giving the network a quote, as Lillard was about to bleed their deadline out.

Kaman obliged and left. Blake eventually dressed, conducted an interview and left the room. So did the rest of the Blazers teammates. One by one, from Robin Lopez to Nic Batum to Wesley Matthews and back, the Blazers absorbed the disappointment and disappeared out the locker room doors.

Trail Blazers clinch spot in 2015 NBA Playoffs

The 48-25 Portland Trail Blazers have officially clinched a spot in the 2015 NBA playoffs, joining the Warriors, Grizzlies, Rockets and Clippers in the West so far, leaving three West spots still up for grabs. Here’s the Oregonian reporting:

The Blazers dominated the the Suns after halftime and emphatically punched their postseason ticket with a 109-86 win in front of a sellout crowd of 19,441 Monday night at the Moda Center.

“It wasn’t like it was earth shattering,” Blazers coach Terry Stotts said, downplaying the the playoff berth. “Honestly, our goal was beyond just to make the playoffs.”

Portland led by six at the half before putting the game away to open the third quarter. The Blazers hit 12 of their first 15 shots, including 4 of 5 three-pointers, en route to scoring 35 points in the first 9:05 of third quarter.

When the buzzer sounded at the end of the third, the Blazers had the game in hand with a 92-65 lead and the starters got to watch the final twelve minutes from the end of the bench.

Blazers sign Tim Frazier for remainder of season

The Portland Trail Blazers have signed guard Tim Frazier for the remainder of the season, President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey announced today. Per team policy, terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Frazier, 24, signed two 10-day contracts with the Philadelphia 76ers last month, averaging 5.7 points, 3.2 rebounds, 7.2 assists and 1.00 steal in six games (three starts).

Frazier (6-1, 170) joins the Trail Blazers from the Maine Red Claws of the NBA Development League, where he posted averages of 16.1 points, 7.1 rebounds, 9.5 assists and 1.66 steals in 41 games (40 starts) this season.

The D-League leader with four triple-doubles, Frazier is a three-time D-League Performer of the Week. Frazier played for Penn State from 2009-14, earning First Team All-Big Ten honors his junior year.

He will wear No. 10 for the Trail Blazers.

Joel Freeland, Shawne Williams suspended for headbutting each other

Portland Trail Blazers center Joel Freeland and Detroit Pistons forward Shawne Williams have been suspended one game without pay for headbutting each other. The penalties were announced today by Rod Thorn, President, Basketball Operations.

The incident occurred with 1:15 remaining in the fourth quarter of the Trail Blazers’ 118-99 win over the Pistons on Friday, March. 13, at Moda Center.

Williams will serve his suspension tonight when the Pistons travel to Utah to play the Jazz. Freeland will serve his suspension on Sunday, March 15, when the Trail Blazers travel to Toronto to play the Raptors.

To view the play, click on this link.

CJ McCollum back in Blazers rotation

CJ McCollum back in Blazers rotation

Here’s the Oregonian reporting on the aftermath of the Wesley Matthews injury in Portland:

It’s not the circumstances he likely pictured, but Trail Blazers second year guard CJ McCollum is back in the role he envisioned for himself heading into the season.

He’s a top option off the bench for a Portland team making a playoff push.

Of course, now he’s backing up Arron Afflalo and not Wesley Matthews, but McCollum’s role, the minutes and opportunity are back to where they were in the beginning of the season.

“Take advantage of whatever minutes you get and continue to gain trust,” McCollum said of his mindset at Blazers on Monday. “That’s the biggest thing. The past is over with.”

Wesley Matthews suffers season-ending injury

Wesley Matthews suffers season-ending injury

Portland Trail Blazers guard Wesley Matthews will miss the remainder of the season after rupturing his left Achilles tendon in Portland’s 94-75 win over the Dallas Mavericks Thursday at the Moda Center.

The injury occurred at the 10-minute mark of the third quarter.

Matthews posted averages of 15.9 points (44.8% FG, 38.8% 3-PT, 75.2% FT), 3.7 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 1.28 steals and 33.7 minutes in 60 games (all starts) for the Trail Blazers this season.

According to the Oregonian, “the Blazers initially announced that Matthews had a “left foot injury” and would not return to the game. Following magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) tests on Matthews’ left leg, the team updated his status saying he would miss the remainder the Blazers season with the Achilles injury. Rehab for a ruptured Achilles is usually projected between six to nine months. The Blazers have not announced if or when Matthews will undergo surgery for the injury.”

Blazers play small-ball down stretch vs Clippers

Here’s the Oregonian with some insight on the Trail Blazers:

Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts turned to a small-ball lineup down the stretch and in overtime of the Portland’s comeback win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Wednesday night.

LaMarcus Aldridge shifted to center, Nicolas Batum played de facto power forward along with Arron Afflalo, Wesley Matthews and Damian Lillard in the backcourt. It was the second time in the last three games Stotts has turned to that group to close out a game, after employing the same unit in a win over Oklahoma City last week.

“You’ve got four very good three point shooters, you’ve got a couple guys who can penetrate, you’ve got a couple perimeter guys who can post up and obviously (Aldridge) is a matchup problem in a lot of different ways,” Stotts explained.

“Offensively it can be very effective and you kind of have to pick your poison if you’re the opponent. The key to that is being able to defend.”

Isaiah Thomas, Damian Lillard named Players of Week through March 1

isaiah thomas

Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas and Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard today were named NBA Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week, respectively, for games played Monday, Feb. 23, through Sunday, March 1.

Thomas helped the Celtics to a 3-1 week, which included wins over the Phoenix Suns and Charlotte Hornets. He placed third in the East in scoring (22.0 ppg) and tied for seventh in assists (6.5 apg). On Feb. 27, Thomas scored a season-high 28 points and dished out seven assists during the Celtics’ 106-98 win over the Hornets.

damian lillard

Lillard led the Trail Blazers to a 3-0 week, which included wins over the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder. He averaged 26.0 points (third in the conference) and added 5.7 assists and 4.7 rebounds. Lillard capped his week with a 31-point, seven-assist, four-rebound performance on March 1, during a 110-99 win over the Sacramento Kings.

Other nominees for the Eastern and Western Conference Players of the Week were Atlanta’s Paul Millsap, Charlotte’s Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Mo Williams, Golden State’s Stephen Curry, Houston’s James Harden, Indiana’s George Hill, Los Angeles Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul, New Orleans’ Tyreke Evans, Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook, and Phoenix’s Eric Bledsoe.

Blazers survive monster game from Westbrook

Here’s the Oregonian reporting on the Portland Trail Blazers, who were able to come away with a win despite Russell Westbrook unleashing yet another monster game for the OKC Thunder as Kevin Durant continues to miss time due to injury:

Nicolas Batum looked over the stat sheet searching for something he could point to explain the Trail Blazers comeback win over the Oklahoma City Thunder.

“We…stepped up defensively,” Batum finally said after an extended pause. The Blazers’ small forward sat in front of his locker with ice on both of his knees after he was tasked with slowing Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook down the stretch of an exhilarating victory.

“That was a playoff game,” Batum said. “That was a playoff game.”

The Blazers rode the postseason atmosphere inside the Moda Center to a 115-112 win over the Thunder on Friday night, overcoming an 13-point fourth quarter deficit in the process.

Westbrook was electric. He ended his historic February with his third straight triple-double, finishing with 40 points, 13 rebounds and 11 assists. But the Blazers slowed him just enough in the closing minutes to escape with the win.

Winning time for Trail Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers are 36-17 and in the mix to compete for an NBA championship this season. The time to win is now. Here’s the Oregonian reporting:

After all those roster rebuilds, after all that front office turmoil, after all the hyperbole about being a contender, the Trail Blazers on Thursday reinforced that there is a new era in Rip City.

“It’s winning time,” Wesley Matthews said.

The Blazers were a part of the busiest and most frenetic trade deadline in NBA history on Thursday, when they traded Thomas Robinson, Will Barton, Victor Claver and a lottery-protected 2016 first-round draft pick to the Denver Nuggets for Arron Afflalo and Alonzo Gee.

The addition of Afflalo, a 6-foot-5 shooting guard known for his tenacious defense and lethal long-range shooting, not only strengthened the Blazers’ bench for the stretch run, but also offered a no-doubt-about-it signal that the franchise believes it is primed for a deep playoff push. The Blazers’ window for contending has cracked open and President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey’s move to add Afflalo and Gee made it clear the franchise is ready to climb inside.

Steve Blake will change jersey number to honor Jerome Kersey

steve  blake

Following the untimely and tragic loss of Trail Blazers legend Jerome Kersey, Portland guard Steve Blake will switch his jersey number to 5, hanging up the No. 25 that Kersey wore for the Trail Blazers from 1984-95.

“Jerome Kersey meant a lot to this team and to this city,” said Blake. “I’ve known Jerome for a long time now and wanted to honor him and his vast contributions both on and off the court. I consider it an honor to wear the number 25, but this just seemed like the right thing to do.”

Blake asked for and received NBA permission to change his jersey number to 5, effective beginning Friday at Utah.

Here’s the Oregonian with quotes on Jerome Kersey, the former Trail Blazers who has unfortunately passed away:

Danny Ainge discusses playing with Jerome Kersey

Danny Ainge will remember many things about Jerome Kersey, but one thing will always stand above all: His smile.

“He always played happy and hard,” Ainge said Thursday morning. “And that made him a great joy to be around on a day-in-day-out basis.”

Kersey died unexpectedly on Wednesday in Tualatin. He was 52.

Kersey played his first 11 seasons with the Blazers, including two with Ainge - the record 63-win season in 1990-1991 and the NBA Finals season of 1991-1992.

Jerome Kersey dies at age 52

Former Trail Blazer Jerome Kersey dies at age 52

A beloved figure and one of the most prolific Portland Trail Blazers, Jerome Kersey, has passed away at age 52. Cause of death has not been confirmed. A long-time resident of Portland after his 17-year NBA career, Kersey was employed by the Trail Blazers as Director of Alumni Relations as part of the team’s Social Responsibility Department.

“Today we lost an incredible person and one of the most beloved players to ever wear a Trail Blazers uniform,” said Trail Blazers Owner Paul Allen. “My thoughts and condolences are with the Kersey family. He will be missed by all of us. It’s a terrible loss.”

“We’re shocked to lose such a great member of our Trail Blazers family,” said Trail Blazers President and CEO Chris McGowan. “The news is so sudden, and we’re sure more details will be forthcoming. But it is indeed a sad day for our organization, the city of Portland and the NBA. Jerome will be remembered not only for his incredible contributions on the court, but his tremendous impact in our community.”

“Jerome was an incredible influence on our players as a model for life after basketball,” said Trail Blazers President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey. “He set the bar extremely high with his long-lasting influence in this community.”

Kersey was part of the great early 90s Portland nucleus that led the Trail Blazers to the NBA Finals in 1990 and 1992. He ranks fifth on the team’s all-time scoring list (10,067) and third in rebounds (5,078) after an 11-year tenure in Portland from 1984-95. He continued his career with Golden State, L.A. Lakers, Seattle, San Antonio and Milwaukee, and he won an NBA Championship with the Spurs in 1999.

Damian Lillard named to 2015 West All-Star team as replacement for injured Blake Griffin

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard has been named a 2015 NBA All-Star by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to replace injured Los Angeles Clippers forward Blake Griffin, the league announced today.

Lillard was the expected pick as an injury replacement on the West All-Star team. DeMarcus Cousins had already been picked to replace the injured Kobe Bryant. Both Lillard and Cousins are having terrific seasons, and it seemed like a toss-up as to which was more worthy. There’s simply a lot of talent in the Western conference this season.

Lillard, 24, is averaging career highs of 21.6 points (42.9% FG, 34.4% 3PT, 85.7% FT), 4.6 rebounds and 1.49 steals to go with a team-high 6.3 assists in 51 games this season. The NBA Western Conference Player of the Week for the week ending Nov. 16, Lillard is one of just five players averaging 21 points and six assists per game.

The NBA’s late-game scoring leader with 311 points in the fourth quarter, Lillard ranks 13th in scoring, 15th in assists and is sixth in 3-pointers (129).

Lillard is playing in back-to-back NBA All-Star games, becoming the fourth Trail Blazer to be selected twice in his first three seasons (Maurice Lucas, Brandon Roy and Sidney Wicks).

This year’s NBA All-Star Game will mark the 10th time the Trail Blazers will feature multiple players in the game, and the second consecutive year the duo of LaMarcus Aldridge and Lillard earn All-Star honors.

Golden State head coach Steve Kerr, who earned the right to coach the West team because the Warriors had the best record in the conference through games played Feb. 1, will determine Griffin’s replacement in the starting lineup.

The 2015 NBA All-Star Game will tip-off at 5:30 p.m. (Pacific) on Sunday, Feb. 15, from Madison Square Garden in New York. The game will air live on TNT.

Nic Batum status uncertain for Friday

Here’s the Oregonian with a Trail Blazers update for a very big Friday matchup:

Nicolas Batum’s status for the Trail Blazers’ Friday night game against the hottest team in the NBA is uncertain.

Batum was a game-time decision before the Blazers visited the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday, and the starting small forward did not decide to play until about an hour before tipoff, after going through a pregame shooting session. Batum, who has played with a sprained right wrist since Dec. 17, was grimacing throughout the session, but decided to play through the pain.

The National Basketball Association has announced that tonight’s Portland Trail Blazers at Brooklyn Nets game, scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at Barclays Center, has been postponed due to severe weather conditions. The game has been rescheduled for Monday, April 6, at 7:00 p.m.

All tickets for tonight’s game will be honored on the rescheduled date, April 6.

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