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Trail Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers are changing radio stations for the third time in three years.

The Blazers will air all preseason and regular season games on Fox Sports Radio AM 620 during the 2013-14 season, the team announced today.

The Blazers had been on AM 1190 KEX since last August. Both AM 1190 and AM 620 are owned by Clear Channel Media and Entertainment.

“We are excited about the opportunity to broadcast our games on a station the offers an all-sports format,” said Trail Blazers President & CEO Chris McGowan. “This transition also allows us to avoid any preemption throughout the course of the season.”

 Reported by Micah Rice of the Columbian 

Luke Babbitt agrees to play in Russia

Luke Babbitt agrees to play in Russia

Portland Trail Blazers free agent forward Luke Babbitt has agreed to a one-year deal with the Europe club BC Nizhny Novgorod of Russia, a league source informed CSNNW.com.

The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity due to the fact that no announcement has been made, added that the deal does not contain an NBA-out clause.

Babbitt’s agent Bill Duffy confirmed the deal saying, “My take is Luke needs to play 30 minutes a game and play a more expanded role. We’ve had recent success with both Danny Green (of the San Antonio Spurs) and Patrick Beverley (of the Houston Rockets) getting an opportunity to develop their games in Europe and return to the NBA. The NBA is a league of opportunity. We feel strongly this is the best move for Luke at this time.”

Reported by Chris Haynes of CSNNW

Trail Blazers sign guard Dee Bost

Trail Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers signed guard Dee Bost to a contract, it was announced today by General Manager Neil Olshey. We assume this is a nonguaranteed contact that will bring Bost to training camp, where the team will evaluate him further.

Bost (6-2, 176) played four seasons at Mississippi State, where he averaged 15.8 points and 5.6 assists as a senior. Bost finished his career with 633 assists, tops in Mississippi State history and eighth all-time in the Southeastern Conference (SEC).

Last season he played for Buducnost Podgorica in Montenegro where he averaged 8.3 points and 1.8 assists in 21.5 minutes per game.

Bost, 23, becomes the 17th player on the Trail Blazers’ current roster.

The Rose Garden is no more. The home arena of the Portland Trail Blazers is the same building, but with a new name.

The Portland Trail Blazers and Moda Health have unveiled a community partnership that changes the name of the Rose Garden to the Moda Center at the Rose Quarter, effective immediately, in a 10-year agreement.

The agreement was jointly announced during a press conference today in the center’s South Atrium. At the request of Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen, the new logo for the Moda Center, when unveiled at a later date, will incorporate a rose as a salute to the city of Portland.

“These are the types of large-scale partnerships that are going to take our organization to the next level,” said Trail Blazers President & CEO Chris McGowan. “This agreement enables us to reinvest in the company and the team at levels that impact every aspect of the fan experience, including the facilities, amenities, events and even the product on the court.”

Physical transformation of the renamed arena and Rose Quarter will begin immediately, with new signage and other visual elements being added gradually. New graphics for the home court surface of the Trail Blazers will debut in time for the team’s 2013-14 regular season home opener on November 2 versus the defending Western Conference Champion San Antonio Spurs.

“Since our company was founded in 1955, we’ve invested in projects that create healthy people and healthy places,” said Dr. William Johnson, President of Moda Health. “This partnership reaffirms our commitment to this community as we invite people now to join us in creating in the heart of our city a neighborhood that celebrates healthy urban living. We know that together we can be more. Be better.”

Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, in sounding his endorsement of the agreement, sees the new Moda Center as pivotal to the city’s plans for the Northeast Portland neighborhood that has been the home of the Rose Quarter since 1995.

“We know it’s always a blend of the right civic organizations and the right business partners,” Mayor Hales said. “In that, I suppose, it’s not too different from a coach picking a starting five. The Trail Blazers and Moda Health: that’s a great combination.”

When McGowan first arrived as Trail Blazers chief executive officer in November 2012, he placed a priority on finding a partner to revamp the Rose Quarter. To pilot that process, McGowan hired Los Angeles-based Premier Partnerships, one of the leading naming rights agencies in the country. Over the ensuing months, Premier Partnerships and the Trail Blazers engaged in presentations to and received proposals from numerous companies around the world.

“Though we never geographically limited the brands or companies willing to consider this opportunity, we hoped a locally-based partner would come to the forefront, and we are thrilled to be partnering with a company that shares our vision for the arena and the Rose Quarter,” said McGowan.

Mo Williams happy to join Trail Blazers

Williams said that he had other suitors, even teams where he could have filled in as the starting point guard. However, no destination seemed as tempting as Portland. In his eyes, Rip City is on the rise.

“I like everything that Neil (Olshey) is doing here,” said Williams, who has averaged 13.8 points (38.6 percent 3-point shooting), 5 assists and 2.9 rebounds in 10 NBA seasons. “When we talked, he was really passionate about making the playoffs and he knows the type of player and person that I am, that winning is really important to me.

“That’s why my decision took a long time because I wanted to make sure that I was in a position to win. That’s what I see here. That’s why I came here because I feel like I can be a piece of the puzzle for this organization, for these young guys.”

Reported by Candace Buckner of the Columbian

Portland Trail Blazers sign Mo Williams

The Portland Trail Blazers have signed free agent guard Mo Williams, it was announced today by General Manager Neil Olshey.

Williams, 30, holds career averages of 13.8 points (44.0% FG, 38.6% 3PT, 86.9% FT), 2.9 rebounds, 5.0 assists and 0.95 steals in 10 seasons with Milwaukee, Cleveland, the L.A. Clippers and Utah.

“As a player, Mo is an explosive scorer and willing facilitator,” said Olshey. “As a person, his character and professionalism will set an outstanding example for our young players on the court, in the locker room and in the Portland community.”

An NBA All-Star in 2009, Williams averaged 12.9 points, 2.4 rebounds, a team-high 6.2 assists and 1.00 steal for the Jazz last season.

“I’m very excited to be back with Mo again,” said Trail Blazers Head Coach Terry Stotts. “He adds versatility, scoring and veteran leadership to the team.”

Williams (6-1, 195) played collegiately at Alabama and was selected by Utah with the 47th overall pick in the second round of the 2003 NBA Draft.

He will wear No. 7 for the Trail Blazers.

The NBA announced today that Terrel Harris of the Portland Trail Blazers has been suspended without pay for five games for violating the terms of the NBA/NBPA Anti-Drug Program.

Harris’ suspension will begin with the first game of the next NBA regular season for which he is eligible and physically able to play.

According to the Associated Press, “Harris was acquired by the Blazers from the Pelicans in July as part of a three-way trade that brought Robin Lopez to Portland and sent guard Tyreke Evans went to the Pelicans and guard Greivis Vasquez to the Kings. Harris, a three-year veteran, has played for Miami and New Orleans, averaging 2.3 points and 1.8 rebounds in 42 games.”

Meyers Leonard may do big things for Trail Blazers

He’s out of position too often. He’s awkward at times, and the only thing that’s consistent about his game is that it’s reliably inconsistent. In fact, the Trail Blazers spent a good portion of their summer seeking a player who could make him a back-up. But every time I see Meyers Leonard on the basketball floor I believe he will one day be the answer in Portland.

Leonard turned 21 last NBA season. And if you want to polarize your next cocktail party, wait for a lull, and ask for a show of hands of those who believe Leonard will one day start a playoff game at center for the Blazers. Because this city is no longer Eastside vs. Westside. It’s not hipsters vs. yuppies. As division goes, there are those who believe Leonard will blossom, and those who think he’s a stiff.

I see a star.

Far as we know, Leonard spent his summer league hacking opponents around the basketball and tweeting about various Cirque du Soleil shows on the Vegas strip. But he also attended a Big Man’s Camp, and got stronger, and worked on his footwork.

Reported by John Canzano of the Oregonian

Trail Blazers sign guard Earl Watson

Trail Blazers sign guard Earl Watson

The Portland Trail Blazers have signed veteran free agent guard Earl Watson, it was announced today by General Manager Neil Olshey.

Watson, 34, owns career averages of 6.5 points, 2.3 rebounds, 4.5 assists, 1.02 steals and 22.6 minutes in 12 NBA seasons with Seattle, Memphis, Denver, Oklahoma City, Indiana and Utah. As a veteran, it’s expected Watson will just provide backup minutes off the bench.

“Earl is a consummate professional and one of the most competitive players I have ever been around,” said Olshey. “His leadership, command presence and ability to affect games with his defense are attributes we value highly, and specifically targeted in our search for players at his position.”

Watson (6-1, 200) spent the past three seasons playing for Utah, where he averaged 2.0 points, 1.8 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 17.3 minutes in 48 games last season.

UCLA’s all-time leader in steals (235) and minutes played (4,371), Watson was selected by Seattle with the 40th overall pick in the 2001 NBA Draft.

He will wear No. 25 for the Trail Blazers.

The Portland Trail Blazers have signed rookie guard CJ McCollum, it was announced today by General Manager Neil Olshey.

Portland selected McCollum, 21, with the 10th overall pick in last month’s NBA Draft. The Canton, Ohio, native averaged 21.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.05 steals and 32.9 minutes in 111 games over four seasons at Lehigh.

All players selected in the first round of the draft are guaranteed to receive a contract. So, this signing was standard and expected.

A two-time Patriot League Player of the Year, McCollum is the all-time scoring leader in league history with 2,361 career points. McCollum (6-3, 200) is the first player from Lehigh ever selected in the NBA Draft.

He will wear No. 3 for the Trail Blazers.

Pelicans trade Robin Lopez to Trail Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers have acquired center Robin Lopez and guard Terrel Harris from the New Orleans Pelicans in exchange for the draft rights to Jeff Withey, future second round draft considerations and cash, it was announced today by General Manager Neil Olshey.

Lopez, 25, averaged career-highs of 11.3 points (53.4 FG%), 5.6 rebounds, 1.56 blocked shots and 26.0 minutes in 82 starts last season with New Orleans.

“Robin is a starting-caliber center coming off the best year of his career,” said Olshey. “He fills a void at a position we made a priority this offseason, and his size, ability to protect the rim and emerging offensive game are all key elements in achieving our goal of having more of a presence in the paint on both ends of the floor this season.”

Lopez (7-0, 255) holds career averages of 7.2 points, 3.9 rebounds and 17.4 minutes over five seasons with New Orleans and Phoenix. He spent his first four years with the Suns after being drafted with the 15th overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft out of Stanford.

He will wear No. 42 for the Trail Blazers.

Harris, 25, played 20 games for Miami and New Orleans last season, posting averages of 0.8 points, 1.3 rebounds, 0.5 assists and 6.9 minutes. Owning career averages of 2.3 points, 1.8 rebounds and 0.8 assists in two NBA seasons, Harris (6-4, 195) appeared in four postseason games for Miami during the 2012 NBA Playoffs.

Rockets trade Thomas Robinson to Trail Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers have acquired forward Thomas Robinson from the Houston Rockets in exchange for the NBA rights to Kostas Papnikolaou and Marko Todorovic along with two future second round picks, it was announced today by General Manager Neil Olshey.

Robinson, 22, is entering his second NBA season after averaging 4.8 points, 4.1 rebounds and 15.1 minutes in 70 games with Sacramento (51 games) and Houston (19 games) in 2012-13.

“Thomas is a dynamic young big man with tremendous upside,” said Olshey. “He is an elite athlete and brings a unique set of physical tools to our roster. He has the potential to be one of the best young power forwards in the league and his development will be a priority for us.”

Drafted by Sacramento with the fifth overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, Robinson (6-10, 237) played three seasons at Kansas, where he averaged 17.1 points (50.5%), 11.9 rebounds, 1.8 assists, 1.08 steals and 31.8 minutes in 39 games his junior year. A consensus First Team All-American in 2011-12, he earned the Big 12 Conference Player of the Year Award as a junior.

Trail Blazers sign Dorell Wright

Trail Blazers sign Dorell Wright

The Portland Trail Blazers have signed free agent forward Dorell Wright, it was announced today by General Manager Neil Olshey.

Wright, 27, holds career NBA averages of 9.3 points (43.1% FG, 36.7% 3-PT, 81.1% FT), 4.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists in nine seasons with Miami, Golden State and Philadelphia.

“Dorell brings a versatile skill set on both sides of the ball,” said Olshey. “He gives us the ability to stretch defenses on the offensive end while guarding multiple positions defensively.”

Wright’s 434 3-pointers made over the past three seasons rank fourth in the NBA during that span. He led the league with 194 3-pointers in 2010-11.

Selected by Miami with the 19th overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft out of South Kent Prep, Wright (6-9, 205) averaged 9.2 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 79 games (eight starts) last season with Philadelphia.

Wright will wear No. 1 for the Trail Blazers.

The Portland Trail Blazers have signed rookie guard Allen Crabbe, it was announced today by General Manager Neil Olshey.

The reigning Pac-12 Player of the Year, Crabbe, 21, begins his NBA career with the Trail Blazers after finishing his junior season at the University of California.
Portland acquired Crabbe, selected with the 31st overall pick, from Cleveland on draft day in exchange for two future second round picks.

Crabbe (6-6, 210) averaged 15.7 points (44.6% FG, 38.2% 3-PT, 81.9% FT), 5.7 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in three seasons at California. His 209 3-pointers rank third in school history.

He will wear No. 23 for the Trail Blazers.

Dorell Wright

Free agent wing Dorell Wright has agreed to sign a two-year contract for $6 million with the Trail Blazers, agent Greg Lawrence said.

The signing won’t become official until Wednesday.

“He was really impressed with Coach Stotts and Neil (Olshey) and how they thought he would fit in,” Lawrence said. “He’s excited about playing with (Damian) Lillard and he likes the city.”

Wright, a 6-foot-9 sharp-shooter, last season averaged 9.2 points and 3.8 rebounds as a reserve for Philadelphia.

Reported by Jason Quick of the Oregonian

The Portland Trail Blazers selected CJ McCollum, Jeff Withey and Marko Todorovic in the 2013 NBA Draft. Portland acquired the draft rights to Allen Crabbe, the 31st overall pick, from Cleveland in exchange for a 2015 second round pick and a 2016 second round selection. The Trail Blazers also traded 40th overall pick Grant Jerrett to the Oklahoma City Thunder for cash considerations.

“It was a great night for our team,” said Trail Blazers Owner Paul Allen. “CJ McCollum was the player we wanted going into the draft, and I’m very excited to watch him thrill our fans in the Rose Garden next season.”

Portland selected McCollum, 21, with the 10th overall pick. The Canton, Ohio, native averaged 21.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 2.7 assists, 2.05 steals and 32.9 minutes in 111 games over four seasons at Lehigh. A two-time Patriot League Player of the Year, McCollum is the all-time scoring leader in league history with 2,361 career points. McCollum (6-4, 200) is the first player from Lehigh ever selected in the NBA Draft.

“We’re pleased with how tonight went because we were able to select the players we identified as priorities in addition to some that we didn’t think would be available given our original draft range,” said General Manager Neil Olshey. “Now we’ll get into Summer League, see what we have on the floor with our young guys and add high-caliber veterans as we work to create a more competitive team for next season.”

The Trail Blazers selected Withey, 23, out of Kansas with the 39th overall pick. The two-time Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year is the Big 12’s career leader with 312 blocks. Withey (7-0, 235) averaged 8.0 points, 5.4 rebounds, 2.67 blocks and 19.8 minutes in 117 games over four seasons.

Portland drafted Todorovic, 21, with the 45th overall selection. The Podgorica, Montenegro, native made his Spanish ACB league debut with DKV Joventut Badalona at the age of 18. Todorovic (6-10, 243) spent the 2012-13 season with F.C. Barcelona, averaging 2.3 points, 1.5 rebounds and 6.0 minutes in 20 games.

Crabbe (6-6, 210) played three seasons at California, averaging 15.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 34.7 minutes in 98 games. He was named Pac-12 Player of the Year by coaches in 2013 when he garnered All-Pac-12 honors for the third consecutive season. Crabbe, 21, led all Pac-12 players as a junior last season with 607 points scored.

Trail Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers hope to strike gold for a second consecutive year during Thursday night’s draft.

A year ago, Portland used the No. 6 pick to select Weber State guard Damian Lillard, who became the NBA’s Rookie of the Year. The Blazers pick at No. 10 this year.

What Blazers management has thought about this year’s draft in recent weeks is anyone’s guess. Portland general manager Neil Olshey and coach Terry Stotts haven’t spoken to the media since the team’s first individual draft workouts in late May. But Olshey has often said the team’s preference is to take the best available player over need.

The Blazers’ needs include a defensive-oriented post player and depth. During a season in which Portland went 33-49, starters LaMarcus Aldridge, Nicolas Batum and Lillard ranked among the NBA’s top 10 in minutes played because of a thin bench.

Though some have tabbed this year’s draft as weak to average, the Blazers believe there are players available who can improve their roster.

Reported by the Associated Press

The Trail Blazers on Friday continued their predraft workouts, evaluating six more players at the practice facility in Tualatin.

The group of prospects included multiple players with NBA bloodlines (Glen Rice, Jr., a 6-foot-5 guard from the D-League and Larry Drew II, a 6-2 guard from UCLA) and another with ties to Oregon (E.J. Singler, a 6-6 forward from Oregon). The rest of the workout included: Ian Clark, a 6-3 guard from Belmont; Ed Daniel, a 6-7 forward from Murray State; and Trevor Mbakwe, a 6-8 forward from Minnesota.

Reported by Joe Freeman of The Oregonian

The next phase of the Trail Blazers’ 2013 offseason begins on Thursday, when the team hosts its first predraft workout in preparation for the NBA Draft.

Blazers GM Neil Olshey does not release the name’s of predraft visitors until shortly before workouts open to the media, so it’s unclear who the visitors will be or how many prospects will be roaming the practice facility in Tualatin. But it’s an important day, nonetheless.

NBA front offices place significant value on predraft workouts. Sure, Olshey and his staff have evaluated many of these players extensively for nearly a year. In some cases, they’ve been monitoring the players since they were in high school. But bringing them to Portland allows the Blazers’ brass to put them through tailor-made workouts and to test their athleticism and basketball ability in a variety of ways.

Reported by Joe Freeman of the Oregonian

Wesley Matthews has elbow procedure

Wesley Matthews has elbow procedure

Trail Blazers guard Wesley Matthews has undergone an arthroscopic procedure on his left elbow.

Matthews’ recovery should take three to four weeks. The procedure, an arthroscopic debridement, was performed at a St. Louis hospital on Wednesday.

Reported by the Associated Press 

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