Damian Lillard Rumors
May 1 at 5:59pm CST By Chuck Myron
Damian Lillard won a unanimous vote for the Rookie of the Year award, the Trail Blazers have announced (Twitter link). The honor comes as no surprise, since Lillard swept this season's Rookie of the Month awards. The only drama involved whether Anthony Davis, Bradley Beal or anyone else would garner a first-place vote or two, but that didn't happen. Davis and Beal finished second and third, respectively. Lillard is just the fourth unanimous selection for the award, joining Ralph Sampson (1984), David Robinson (1990), and Blake Griffin (2011).
The Blazers selected Lillard sixth overall last year, using a draft pick they acquired from the Nets at the trade deadline. The point guard from Weber State made an instant impression, averaging 26.5 points per game in four summer league contests. He put up 19.0 PPG during the regular season to finish second behind LaMarcus Aldridge on the team in scoring, and Lillard led the league in minutes played. He averaged 6.5 assists and 3.0 turnovers per contest, a ratio that proves there's still room for improvement.
Even so, Lillard is already one of the league's best bargains on his rookie-scale contract. He made just $3,065,040 this year, and his four-year deal is worth only $13,845,167
April 30 at 7:58pm CST By Alex Lee
Here is the latest out of Portland, where the Blazers missed the playoffs for the second consecutive season:
- The Blazers released a statement that they will be making an
announcement tomorrow at the Rose Garden. As Ben Golliver of Blazer's
Edge suggests, all signs point toward point
guard Damian Lillard being announced as the NBA's Rookie of the Year on
Wednesday. A couple of notes on Lillard courtesy of Golliver; the
rookie led the NBA in minutes and won all six Rookie of the Month awards
in the Western Conference. No surprise here.
- In a separate post, Golliver wonders whether the Blazers will have interest in Bulls guard Nate Robinson, who will be an unrestricted free agent in the offseason. Robinson went to school in Washington and is a Seattle native.
- Oregon Live asks Blazers fans whether the team should retain free agent to be Luke Babbitt in their "You be the GM" series. The Blazers declined Babbitt's fourth year option in October. If Babbitt walks, the Blazers will likely look to replace his outside shooting ability in free agency or the draft.
March 27 at 10:30pm CST By Chuck Myron
It had to end sometime. The Heat finally lost a game after winning 27 in a row, falling to the Bulls tonight despite the absence of Joakim Noah and Derrick Rose. That leaves the Knicks, who earned their sixth straight victory with a win over the Grizzlies this evening, as the team with the longest current winning streak in the NBA. The six W's in a row have allowed the Knicks to essentially end the Celtics' hopes of a sixth straight division title, and New York has built a three-game lead on second-place Brooklyn, pending the Nets' late game against the Blazers. Here's more on a pair of teams looking up at New York in the Atlantic standings.
- Last year's Gerald Wallace deal allowed the Blazers to select Damian Lillard sixth overall in the draft this past June, but if that trade hadn't happened, the Nets still wouldn't have Lillard, writes Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. Brooklyn's scouts weren't high on last year's draft class, and the team likely would have traded the pick elsewhere if Portland hadn't come along, a source tells Bondy, who adds that the Nets weren't close to trading for Paul Pierce at the deadline a year ago, either.
- SB Nation's Paul Flannery delivers a lengthy piece on Celtics assistant GM Ryan McDonough, examining his role in drafting Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley, along with plenty of insight on the team's inner workings. The article deserves a look in full, particularly for Boston fans, and details someone who appears poised to take over an NBA front office sometime soon. "He’s very good at what he does," C's coach Doc Rivers said. "He’ll be a GM. There’s no doubt about that."
- Jared Sullinger's back had him red-flagged by NBA doctors before last year's draft, and even though the rookie is out for the season after undergoing back surgery, Rivers doesn't regret the Celtics taking him 21st overall, as Mary Schmitt Boyer of The Plain Dealer notes.
March 15 at 11:36pm CST By Chuck Myron
After indulging in his love of soccer to make a cross-sport comparison of LeBron James and Lionel Messi, Marc Stein of ESPN.com delivers his usual assortment of juicy NBA rumors from around the league as part of his Weekend Dime. Here are the highlights:
- One NBA GM believes Serge Ibaka would have been worth a maximum-salary contract had he not signed a $49.4MM extension with the Thunder this past offseason. I took an early look this evening at some of this summer's rookie-scale extension candidates.
- The Mavs recently tried to free former NBA point guard Bobby Brown from his deal with Italian club Montepaschi Siena, but the potential buyout would have been too costly. Several teams have interest in Brown, 28, who's expected to return to the NBA next season. He's averaging 17.7 points and 4.4 assists this season in Italy.
- Raja Bell confirms, as we've heard, that he would have taken a buyout from the Jazz before the March 1st playoff eligibility deadline if he had an offer from another team already lined up, and that the Lakers' concerns about the luxury tax have precluded L.A. from signing him. He also said he's open to joining a team this season even though he wouldn't be eligible for the playoffs.
- Had the Nets held on to their first-round draft pick last year instead of trading it away in the Gerald Wallace deal, they likely would have passed on presumptive Rookie of the Year Damian Lillard in favor of Tyler Zeller, since they figured incumbent point guard Deron Williams would re-sign.
- Stein takes the Bulls to task for not making it clear that they're OK with Derrick Rose if he doesn't come back this season. Rose is angry that the perception that he's the only one holding up his return has been allowed to build. A source tells Aggrey Sam of CSNChicago.com that "a lot of people have to sign off" before he could come back.
March 2 at 9:04pm CST By Sean Highkin
Minnesota Timberwolves guard Brandon Roy, who has missed most of the season after undergoing knee surgery, addressed media in Portland before the Wolves faced off against the Trail Blazers. Roy reflected on his five seasons in Portland as well as updating on the status of his rehab and the future of his career. Ben Golliver of BlazersEdge has a full transcript of Roy's comments.
On the status of his rehabilitation from knee surgery:
I'm doing good. I've been doing good for a few weeks now. Working without any setbacks. I'm getting closer to getting back out there on the court. I was talking to Kevin [Love] and Chase [Budinger] and those guys, once they're healthy, I'll be that much closer and we'll give ourselves a good look at what we could have been had we been healthy. Maybe it's just timing also.
On how many more years he plans to play:
I'm not sure. My body has a lot to say about that. At the end of the year, I'll do some reflecting on how this season went and if I want to continue. I made the commitment at the beginning of the year that I'm going to stick with this season no matter what through the ups and downs and at the end of the year I'll reflect on things and do I still want to go forward. I'm not going to make that decision now, I know maybe people want me to. I made a commitment and I'm going to stick it out.
Thoughts on Blazers rookie guard Damian Lillard:
He's a good player. Being in Minnesota I don't get to watch as many Portland games, but the games I've watched, he's a really tough player. I didn't know he could shoot the ball that good. He's a really good three-pointer shooter. He's just tough on the court and he makes big shots, timely shots. He's going to be a special player in this league.
He's solid. I've never really been one to compare guys to myself but I see a lot of Chauncey Billups in him. Chauncey wasn't at that level so early but you could see a lot of similarities. He just comes down and makes timely baskets. Playing against guys like Chauncey, that's what they did. He's going to be a really good player in this league.
Reflections on the would-be dynasty in Portland with LaMarcus Aldridge and Greg Oden:
I never really do it. But people will sit around and watch games and go, 'man, if you guys could have stayed healthy,' and they will mention Greg, me and LaMarcus, we had a lot of young talented pieces. Some people say you guys could have been this, you could have been that. I'm the type where unless you work and actually get that, it's just a what if. If you think too hard on the what ifs, it takes too much credit from the teams that are actually going out and doing it.
February 26 at 10:43pm CST By Sean Highkin
A roundup of the latest news and notes from around the NBA on Tuesday evening:
February 23 at 12:38pm CST By Sean Highkin
The latest news and notes from around the NBA on Saturday afternoon:
February 23 at 10:13am CST By Sean Highkin
Joel Brigham of HoopsWorld has a new column examining which teams have a chance to be title contenders five seasons from now, taking into account possible moves in free agency and the ages of the teams' core players.
- Brigham believes the Thunder still have the brightest future, given that Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and Serge Ibaka will all be under 30 in five seasons.
- LeBron James' free agency will play a major role in determining the next title contender, Brigham writes. The health and effectiveness of Dwyane Wade will determine whether James stays with the Heat, but the Cavaliers and Lakers are also possible destinations.
- On that note, Brigham writes that, although Kyrie Irving is blossoming into a superstar, the Cavs will not be a contender unless James signs in Cleveland.
- The Bulls will still be contenders if Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah stay healthy, Brigham writes. He also notes that Nikola Mirotic will have come over to the NBA by then.
- The trade for Thomas Robinson added another young piece to the James Harden/Jeremy Lin core the Rockets have built, Brigham writes. Additionally, the team is still well under the cap and can add another high-level player via free agency.
- Damian Lillard and LaMarcus Aldridge give the Blazers a solid core to build around, writes Brigham.
- Brigham writes that there will be uncertainty every year for the next five as to whether Chris Paul will still be with the Clippers.
- Even if Stephen Curry's ankles don't hold up, Klay Thompson and Harrison Barnes give the Warriors a good young core, Brigham says.
- Brigham writes that the Pacers have excellent cornerstone players in Roy Hibbert and Paul George.
February 13 at 11:36pm CST By Alex Lee
Kevin Garnett made some cryptic comments after the Celtics win on Wednesday night, stating that this weekend's festivities will be his last All-Star game, tweets Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe. Garnett signed a three-year extension with Boston in the offseason, so this statement obviously prompted confusion and resulting questions from media (via Chris Forsberg on ESPN.com):
"Y'all don't know what I know," Garnett said. "So, let's put it like this: I'm more than grateful for going, but I'm not going to act like I've got more All-Star Games in me, so I'm actually going to enjoy this one with some friends and family."
Garnett could obviously be implying that he will decline future All-Star invites, but given his tendency for hinting at walking away from the game, this is something worth following. Here are some other things going on around the league:
- With his knee still bothering him, Derrick Rose told reporters that he "won't mind missing this year" if he isn't ready, writes Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. This was the first time Rose spoke to the media since the start of the regular season, making this a surprising revelation. Rose was originally thought to be aiming for a post All-Star break return, but that sure seems like a long shot at this point. Based on Rose's words, it is clear that he intends to come back on his terms and will only do so when he is entirely healthy.
- If the Knicks are truly inquiring on Luke Ridnour, sharpshooter Steve Novak may be the only piece they can move to get it done, writes Chris Sheridan of Sheridan Hoops. Novak, recently relegated to more of a reserve role, makes $4.05MM -- a number that matches up nicely against Ridnour's $4MM for this year and $4.3MM for next. Sheridan writes that Jason Kidd and Pablo Prigioni aren't real options to play meaningful minutes at the point. Sheridan considers Will Bynum of the Pistons to be the best fit for the Knicks.
- Even if no high profile players are dealt by next week's deadline, look no further than last year to see how much a mid-level trade can make an impact on a franchise. The Blazers trade of Gerald Wallace to the Nets -- while it didn't alter the landscape of the league a bit last year -- resulted in the acquisition of Damian Lillard via the NBA Draft, and the subsequent expediting of the Blazers rebuilding process, says Ben Golliver of Blazer's Edge.
- Asked about the Lakers personnel, Hall of Fame basketball writer Mark Heisler, now of Sheridan Hoops, says via video that the Lakers won't be moving Dwight Howard, Pau Gasol or Kobe Bryant this year. Looking to the future, Hesiler says the team's No. 1 priority is to lock up Howard because, quite simply, he is "the only young player they have who's any good."
January 10 at 9:23pm CST By Sean Highkin
The latest links and updates in the Northwest Division on Thursday: