After struggling for most of his first season with the Trail Blazers, Raymond Felton has raised his game lately, averaging 13.7 PPG, 8.7 APG, and 5.7 RPG on .478/.478/.833 shooting in six April contests. While his recent performance is a step up over what he's done the rest of the year, it likely won't be enough to warrant a return to Portland for the point guard. Still, as he's said before, Felton told Kerry Eggers of the Portland Tribune that he'd love to re-sign with the Blazers:
"I have loved every experience I’ve had through my time in the league," Felton said. "I have never (been a player in) one city I didn’t like, but I love it here in Portland. It rains a lot, I will say that. But other than that, I love it here. I love playing in the Rose Garden. (Garden denizens) are some of the best fans in the NBA, if not the best. It’s been great."
Felton conceded that he didn't arrive at camp in the best shape, in part due to the lockout. He also cited learning a new system in a new organization as part of the reason for his early-season struggles, but said he didn't want to make excuses for his poor play. Over the course of the season, Felton has worked his way into better condition, and the veteran also credited new coach Kaleb Canales for his improved performance:
"Coach Kaleb tells me to go out and just play," Felton said. "And he wants to play fast-paced all the time. He said, 'This is your team; run it. You all call the plays.' I don’t have to look to the bench to call plays. He wants to play up-tempo, and that’s the strength of my game."
As Eggers writes, Felton's recent surge is probably a case of too little, too late for the 27-year-old. The Blazers will have a huge chunk of cap space to work with this summer and will likely be targeting top point guards like Steve Nash and Deron Williams before turning to the second- or third-tier free agents like Felton. Even then, there are a number of options available that would be more popular with the team's fanbase.