Portland Trail Blazers Rumors

Northwest Notes: Jazz, Corbin, Trail Blazers

April 21 at 5:05pm CDT By Zach Links

Trail Blazers star point guard Damian Lillard is rarely rattled on the basketball court, writes Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. “[Sunday night] was a Damian Lillard performance,” Head coach Terry Stotts said. “Damian rises to the occasion. For all those people who were wanting to know if he was ready for the playoffs, I think he answered that question, so we don’t have to answer that anymore. He made big plays. The three was big, getting to the rim was big, making free throws – it was a big time performance.”  The latest out of the Northwest Division..

  • Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today (on Twitter) says that Tyrone Corbin had some support from Jazz leadership but not enough in basketball operations to get an extension with the team.
  • In an afternoon press conference, Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey called Corbin ”a man of dignity, class, and integrity,” tweets Jody Genessy of the Deseret News.  Lindsey also explained that he hasn’t picked out a successor yet (link).  ”Literally we haven’t had one conversation with regards to other names. … Now that the decisions closed we’ll meet quickly,” said the GM.
  • Even though Jim Boylen might fit Lindsey’s vision and is an outstanding coach, he’d be a very tough sell for Jazz fans, opines Steve Luhm of the Salt Lake Tribune (on Twitter).  He also wouldn’t have a honeymoon period and would be expected to deliver wins off the bat.
  • Guard Dee Bost, who was waived by the Trail Blazers in October, signed a deal in Venezuela with Trotamundos de Carabobo, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. The player spent the season in D-League with the Idaho Stampede averaging 15.2 points, 6.1 rebounds, 8.4 assists, and 2.1 steals in 50 games.

And-Ones: ‘Melo, Grizzlies, Stotts, Frye

April 17 at 4:34pm CDT By Chuck Myron

The intersection of exit interviews for teams that missed the playoffs and a steady stream of draft-related news has made for a busy Thursday around Hoops Rumors. We’ll catch up on the latest from around the league here:

  • Carmelo Anthony suggested today that he’s considered opting in for 2014/15, but he believes he’s better off hitting free agency this summer rather than waiting, according to Scott Cacciola of The New York Times (Twitter link).
  • Zach Randolph‘s failure to make the All-Star Game and trigger a $438,333 bonus that had been considered likely gave the Grizzlies the flexibility to claim Beno Udrih off waivers without going into tax territory, as Mark Deeks of ShamSports explains in a piece for the Score.
  • Blazers coach Terry Stotts appears nervous about his future with the club, which has yet to pick up its option on him for next season, as The Oregonian’s Jason Quick observes, wondering if the coach’s fate will be tied to the team’s postseason performance.
  • Channing Frye has a $6.8MM player option for next season, but whether he opts in or not, Ryan McDonough would like to have him back, as the Suns GM said Wednesday on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, notes Dave Dulberg of ArizonaSports.com. Frye wants to negotiate an extension with the team.
  • The league is considering a proposal that would tie an increased NBA age minimum to better D-League pay, sources tell Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. Some D-Leaguers could earn between $100K and $200K per year under the plan, Deveney tweets.
  • Pelicans GM Dell Demps said in a press conference Wednesday that he likes the team’s core and wants to see more of those players on the court together after an injury-plagued 2013/14, notes Jim Eichenhofer of Pelicans.com. Demps also said it would be unfair to judge coach Monty Williams, given all the injuries.
  • Williams indicated Thursday that he’d like to see the Pelicans make a move to bolster their defense, particularly in the paint, as Eichenhofer writes in a separate piece.
  • The Warriors have assigned Ognjen Kuzmic to the D-League, the team announced. The rookie center will assist the Santa Cruz Warriors in their playoff game tonight, fresh off his best performance of the year for Golden State on Wednesday.

Northwest Rumors: Adelman, Corbin, Karl, Stotts

April 16 at 10:43pm CDT By Charlie Adams

In wake of the speculation that Rick Adelman will step away from coaching next season, Andy Greder of the Pioneer Press looks at how the longtime coach’s legacy and examines the influence he’s had on the likes of Doc Rivers, Gregg Popovich, and Tom Thibodeau. Here is tonight’s rundown on the rumors out of the Northwest Division:

  • Adelman will meet with Wolves president Flip Saunders and owner Glen Taylor within the next 24 hours and make a decision about next season “fast,” tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN.com. Greder adds that the decision might surface as soon as this week (Twitter link).
  • Former Nuggets coach George Karl wouldn’t be interested in taking on a coaching role for a rebuilding team like the Wolves, reveals Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune.
  • Jazz players, including Trey Burke and Derrick Favors, have advocated for Tyrone Corbin‘s return next year, but Aaron Falk of the Salt Lake Tribune doesn’t think it’s a certainty that the first-year coach will remain in Utah beyond this season. The Jazz concluded their season with a double overtime victory over Minnesota tonight.
  • John Canzano of the Oregonian thinks the Blazers would be wise to lock up Terry Stotts to a long-term extension in Portland. Waiting too long to show that the team has faith in Stotts might have a negative impact on the franchise, Canzano argues.

Neil Olshey On Lopez, Williams, Aldridge

April 14 at 7:45pm CDT By Zach Links

The Blazers are playoff bound this year and that’s thanks in part to the work of General Manager Neil Olshey.  The Portland decision-maker took some time last week to sit down with Dwight Jaynes of CSNNW for an interview and Chris Haynes has the goods.  Let’s take a look at the highlights..

How were you able to acquire Robin Lopez for virtually nothing?

It’s the old, how do you become a millionaire? First start with a million dollars. So, I think what we had to do was be really optimistic. We had a very specific need and that solidified what we were looking at. We knew the type of player we wanted to bring in and we found two teams that basically had different goals where we could facilitate a transaction between them and we were able to participate in that. A lot of it, Arn Tellem was great to us because Robin really liked the Portland market. Arn liked the situation basketball wise. He also represents LaMarcus Aldridge so everybody involved wanted to make the deal work. And everybody’s goals were met. New Orleans ended up with Tyreke Evans, Sacramento ended up with assets and we ended up with the missing piece for us, which was a defensive-minded center.

How did signing Mo Williams come about?

I think guards win games. We all just watched the NCAA Tournament and you look at guard-oriented teams. This is clearly different, our league but guards are just so critical with our game, the new rules, the floor being more open. I had a great comfort level with Mo. I traded for him with L.A., when I was with the Clippers. I had worked him out for the draft before I got into the NBA. Terry [Stotts] had coached him. So much of what we do is predicated on the ability to trust the pass and make shots. And that’s what Mo brings. One of the other goals was we wanted to have somebody that could play on or off the ball. It was so important for us when we looked at what Eric Maynor brought to the table back in March of last year, how efficient our offense was. Knowing how good we can be when Damian gets to get off the ball, not have primary playmaking responsibilities every possession. And Mo does that. He’s leading the league in assists off the bench. I think if you look at it, how efficient Damian is when he gets off the ball and you have two primary ball handlers, our offensive efficiency just goes up.

What do you think about LaMarucs Aldridge and Damian Lillard saying they’ll actively recruit players to come to Portland?

Well, I think it’s a window into what type of people LaMarcus and Damian are. And I think probably even more important than whether or not they can deliver on that promise, is the fact that they are willing to try. And it’s an endorsement of our culture, it’s an endorsement of the things we’re trying to do here. It’s a belief in our mission. I do think that one of the things we tried to do when we got here was a lot of teams face different challenges in their markets in the league. Not every market is based in one of the Top 2 cities in the league on a beach; nightlife and you can’t answer all the questions.  But one of things you can answer and can control is the basketball environment. The renovation of the practice facility, things going on at the Moda Center, an incredible fan base, an owner who couldn’t be more committed and passionate about winning, who has a track record of winning and just won a Super Bowl. So I think the belief there is that you want players, not only to be able to retain your own players, which I think is critical with the new collective bargaining agreement, but when you go out to recruit, the ability to say transparently, this is the best basketball environment you can be in for your career.

Western Notes: Lakers, Suns, Barton

April 12 at 12:40pm CDT By Cray Allred

The Lakers are limping their way toward the offseason. Both Pau Gasol and Chris Kaman are likely done for the year, per a pair of tweets from Bill Oram of The Orange County Register. Kobe Bryant will not take part in the team’s scheduled exit meetings, opting to meet with GM Mitch Kupchak at a later date, per Kevin Ding of Bleacher Report (via Twitter). Kobe has expressed his frustration with the front office this year, but Kupchak recently said that Lakers brass won’t be making roster or coaching moves at Bryant’s behest. Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • Dan Bickley of USA Today wonders whether contract concerns for Eric Bledsoe and Gerald Green could disrupt the Suns‘ chemistry next year. President Lon Babby tells Bickley that Phoenix can’t count on a repeat of this year’s dynamic. “I think chemistry is very, very important,” Babby said. “But I also know from experience that if we brought back the entire group with no changes in personnel, it would be very difficult to re-create the same chemistry…The analogy I use is that it’s like a new year of school. You come back, and everything is a little different. Your friends are a little different.” 
  • Will Barton is enjoying his role with the Blazers, but is uncertain about his future with the team, he tells Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com“I try not to think about it as much but I do sometimes,” said Barton, whose contract is non-guaranteed for next year. “You just never know what people are thinking. Hopefully I make it past the deadline…Portland took a chance on me. It would be huge if I can stay in Portland. But like I said, it’s a business and I’m aware of that. You just never know.”
  • In an on-air interview with the Spurs broadcast team, Adam Silver commended San Antonio as a model franchise (transcription via Mike Monroe of San Antonio Express-News). “This is a model franchise, not only for NBA teams but teams in any sport,” said Silver. “This is the prototype of a small market team that is competing in a first-class manner and a well-run business on top of that.”
  • Jesse Blancarte of Basketball Insiders takes a look at what it will take for the Nuggets to make a turnaround next year. Blancarte doesn’t think a drastic roster overhaul is necessary.

Northwest Rumors: Wolves, Love, Corbin

April 7 at 10:34am CDT By Chuck Myron

Blazers GM Neil Olshey would deserve the NBA’s Executive of the Year award based on his acquisition of Robin Lopez alone, opines Jason Quick of The Oregonian, who believes Olshey scored with upgrades to the team’s bench, too. Coach Terry Stotts is similarly pleased, as Quick notes.

“I’ve said it many times: Getting Robin Lopez was the perfect fit for our team,’’ Stotts said. “Getting Mo Williams was the perfect fit for our team. Dorell Wright gives us the ability to play [him at either forward position]. And the young guys have improved. But those three guys in particular, for what we needed coming into the season … Neil did a terrific job of addressing those needs.’’

I think there are several other deserving candidates for the award, but after recording their 50th win of the season on Sunday, it’s clear that the Blazers have taken a significant step forward after last season’s 33-win campaign. Here’s the latest from elsewhere in the Northwest Division:

  • Finding the proper successor to coach Rick Adelman will be critical for the Wolves, and some in the organization believe having the right coach in place will help convince Kevin Love to stay in Minnesota, as Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders writes in his NBA AM piece.
  • Kyler also suggests that it’s far from certain that Love would sign with the Lakers if he decides to opt out of his deal in 2015, and that other teams would be on his radar (Twitter link).
  • Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin and his staff will know by the end of the month if they’ll return to the team for 2014/15, a source tells Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports, who includes the news in his latest NBA power rankings.

Northwest Notes: Fisher, Garrett, Cunningham

April 2 at 7:16pm CDT By Cray Allred

Trail Blazers center Robin Lopez has been surprised at how great a fit the city of Portland has been for him this year, both on and off the court, he told listeners of The Jim Rome Show today. “It’s funny, when I was playing in Phoenix, Channing Frye, who had been in Portland, told me if I visited there, if I went there, I was just going to love it. And I was a little reluctant to believe him just because Channing talks a lot of stuff. But it turns out he’s been 100 percent right. I can’t believe how perfectly the fit has been,” said Lopez (transcription via Sean Meagher of Oregon Live). Here’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • After going undrafted in 2011, bouncing around Europe and the D-League, and making short-lived stops with the Suns and Thunder, Jazz backup point guard Diante Garrett tells Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune he’s hoping to prove himself and find some permanency in Utah. ”You try and not think about it all the time because it will weigh you down,” said Garrett, who has an unguaranteed contract for next season at less than $1MM. “Just go out there and do what you’ve been doing all year and put even more effort into it, because there are going to be a lot of eyes watching, a lot of people watching, a lot of people talking.”
  • Speculation has tied Thunder guard Derek Fisher to the Knicks head coaching position, but he tells Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman that he hasn’t spoken with Phil Jackson about the gig, and reiterates that he’s not looking to coach next season.
  • Caron Butler tells Jenni Carlson of The Oklahoman he came to the Thunder following his buyout with the Bucks because he wanted a chance to play a significant part in a championship run. “I wanted to play,” Butler said. “I wanted to be effective. I wanted to have my fingerprints even more on the success of the team.” Butler won a championship with the Mavs in 2011, but sat out that postseason with an injury.
  • Dante Cunningham is the only Timberwolves rotation fixture set to become an unrestricted free agent next year, and Andy Greder of St. Paul Pioneer Press wonders if Minnesota will value the forward’s intangibles enough to re-sign him despite his poor on-the-court statistics.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

Western Notes: Warriors, Seattle, Rockets

April 2 at 3:30pm CDT By Chuck Myron

Warriors GM Bob Myers thinks coach Mark Jackson has done a “tremendous job” and is supportive of the decision to reassign former assistant coach Brian Scalabrine, as Myers said today on KNBR radio, notes Diamond Leung of the Bay Area News Group (All Twitter links). Ownership and management have a great relationship with Jackson, Myers also asserted. The reason no one from the Warriors front office has publicly defended Jackson is because the team prefers to have only one spokesperson on the rumors surrounding the coach, according to Myers. Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • The group of Seattle investors that came close to purchasing the Kings last season is intact and focused solely on attracting an NBA team to the city, rather than going after an NHL club, primary investor Chris Hansen tells Tim Booth of The Associated Press.
  • Rockets assistant coach and frequent NBA head coaching candidate Kelvin Sampson has agreed to become the head coach at the University of Houston, reports Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com. He’s leaving the Rockets after tonight’s game. Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports first reported a deal was close.
  • Victor Claver enjoys Portland but he’s not satisfied with his playing time, having seen his minutes cut from 16.6 last year to 8.8 per game this season, as he tells Adriano Correal of Gigantes (translation via Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia). Claver, under contract with the Blazers for one more season, has denied rumors that he wants to return to Europe.

Northwest Notes: Hayward, Nuggets, Blazers

March 30 at 8:06pm CDT By Cray Allred

Meyers Leonard hasn’t seen much playing time in his second year with the Trail Blazers, and tells Scott Powers of ESPNChicago.com that he believes focusing on his defensive play over the summer will help him earn his way back into the rotation. “This year has been hard for me. I have to learn to play defense. I’ve rebounded the ball a lot better. But my defense has to continue to improve.” says Leonard. Here’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Allen Crabbe has been recalled by the Trail Blazers after his latest D-League assignment, the team announced.
  • Jazz coach Tyrone Corbin would like to have Marvin Williams back next year, as Bill Ingram of Basketball Insiders notes. “I think it would be great [to bring Williams back]. Who knows what will happen, but he’s a great guy to have on the squad,” Corbin said. Williams will be an unrestricted free agent, and the Jazz reportedly turned away an offer of a first round draft pick for the forward near the trade deadline.
  • Jazz forward Gordon Hayward tells Aaron Falk of The Salt Lake Tribune that his summer as a restricted free agent is in the back of his mind. Hayward believes he has what it takes to be paid and perform like the team’s primary option. “You definitely have to have a swag,” Hayward said. “You have to play with confidence. You have to know that you’re one of the best guys on the court and play like it too. … It’s something that I embrace. It’s a challenge, but it’s something that I’m excited about.” Hayward and Utah were unable to agree upon an extension before this season, setting up this summer’s uncertainty.
  • Nuggets GM Tim Connelly hasn’t ruled out re-signing either Aaron Brooks or Jan Vesely next year, he tells Terry Frei of The Denver Post. “Aaron’s been fantastic,” Connelly said. “We were really fortunate that he showed some faith in us by waiving that no-trade clause. I think with Jan, that last game (against Washington on Sunday) was the best game he has played for us. Unfortunately, he went down with an injury. Both those guys were brought here to help us get through the season, but also to evaluate them for next season as well.” Denver acquired both at the trade deadline.

Western Notes: Stotts, Gasol, O’Neal

March 30 at 9:13am CDT By Eddie Scarito

Terry Stotts is on the last year of his contract, and management hasn’t said whether he’ll be back for a third season on the Blazers’ bench, writes Mitch Lawrence of The New York Daily News. Stotts’ staff is not feeling very good about their chances of returning after sliding down to fifth place in the West and in danger of finishing even lower, reports Lawrence. Since starting the season atop the West by winning 33 of their 44 games, the Blazers have been sub-.500, losing 16 of their last 29 games entering the weekend. In six seasons as a head coach with the Hawks, Bucks, and Blazers, Stotts has a record of 195-244.

More from the west:

  • Robert Sacre is often overlooked when the Lakers future is discussed, even though he’s one of only four players under contract after June, but he might become an integral part of the team going forward, writes Mike Bresnahan of The Los Angeles Times.
  • Pau Gasol told Marca.com (translation by Orazio Cauchi of Sportando) that he might stay with the Lakers after this season. His contract is set to expire after the season ends. Gasol said, “My priority is basketball. I want to be on a team with real chances of winning the championship next season. I don’t rule out staying in Los Angeles if the circumstances are appropriate.
  • Warriors veteran big man Jermaine O’Neal called any talk of firing coach Mark Jackson “ridiculous” and “unfair”, and said that if he plays another season it will be because of Jackson, writes Diamond Leung of The San Jose Mercury News. O’Neal said, The No. 1 reason that I will come back and play another year is because of Coach Jackson. I’m absolutely, 100 percent positive about that. He makes it easy to come in this gym every day, and there’s not a lot of coaches that do that.” He also mentioned that he would choose Golden State despite the distance from family because Jackson has shown just how much he cares about his players, writes Leung.