Portland Trail Blazers Rumors

Portland Trail Blazers trade, free agent, and draft rumors, updated constantly by the NBA experts at HoopsRumors.com.

Western Notes: D-League, Donovan, Williams

May 8 at 9:30pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

Billy Donovan‘s track record of success at the University of Florida bodes well for his chances as the Thunder‘s new coach, Joseph Goodman of The Miami Herald writes. In addition to leading his team to back-to-back championships, Donovan also has proven adept at getting his star players to remain longer than they otherwise would have, Goodman notes. The organization certainly hopes this ability will carryover to the pros, since the pending free agency of Kevin Durant in the summer of 2016 is sure to be a hot-button topic in OKC all season long in 2015/16.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • The L.A. D-Fenders, the Lakers‘ D-League affiliate, informed coach Phil Hubbard that the franchise would not be exercising its team option for him next season, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports reports (Twitter links). The D-Fenders struggled to a record of 17-33 under the first-year coach, though NBA callups for Jabari Brown, Jamaal Franklin, and Vander Blue certainly didn’t help Hubbard’s cause, Spears notes.
  • If the Nets and Deron Williams were to agree to a buyout or if the franchise waives him via the stretch provision, the point guard returning to play for the Jazz is a possibility, posits Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News (Twitter link). Williams spent the first five and a half seasons of his career in Utah before being dealt to Brooklyn back in 2011.
  • Blazers big man Chris Kaman went to Portland with the intention of being a reserve and mentoring the team’s younger big men, but injuries derailed that plan, Jabari Young of CSNNW.com writes in his review of Kaman’s season. While many players would be thrilled to become a starter, even if it was due to injuries, Kaman wasn’t a huge fan of the change, Young adds. When discussing his role change, Kaman said, “It’s not bad, but it’s not what I came here to do. I knew I came here to back up [Robin] Lopez. And that’s where I see myself and that’s where I feel comfortable.” The veteran has one year remaining on his current deal, though only $1MM of his $5,016,000 salary for 2015/16 is guaranteed.

Western Notes: Jokic, Afflalo, Aminu

May 7 at 6:45pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

Mavs forward Al-Farouq Aminu has indicated that he’ll turn down his minimum-salary player option with the team for next season, but both sides have indicated a willingness to rekindle their relationship next season. When discussing his feelings regarding returning to Dallas in a radio interview with KRLD-FM 105.3 (hat tip to the Dallas Morning News), Aminu said, “People are still playing now, so it’s hard to tell, but I really want to. … Nobody likes moving and different things like that. I’ve been in L.A. then I went to New Orleans and now here. It’s always better to stay where you’re at but things happen. But it would be nice.

Here’s more from the NBA’s Western Conference:

  • When asked what positives he would pitch about playing in Dallas to prospective free agent targets, Aminu said, “I guess it’s what I went through last year when I was coming to play here. It’s a great city. It doesn’t get that cold, which is nice. Also, the practice facility is in the arena is close, as well as the airport, so it’s not a lot of long hours you have to drive back and forth to places. It does become a drag. You’re going to play with great players. Obviously you’re probably going to win and then you’re going to have a chance at a championship.
  • Nuggets 2014 second-round pick Nikola Jokic is seeking a long-term deal from Denver or else he’ll remain overseas, a source tells David Pick of Eurobasket.com (via Twitter). There are reports that the Nuggets intend to ink the big man prior to the NBA summer league commencing.
  • Blazers guard Arron Afflalo has to make a decision this offseason regarding his player option worth $7,750,000, and Sean Meagher of The Oregonian examines the pros and cons of the 29-year-old returning to Rip City in 2015/16.
  • Sam Amick of USA Today looks at the path Warriors star Stephen Curry has taken from being the No. 7 overall selection in the 2009 NBA draft to winning the league’s MVP award this season.

Arron Afflalo Plans To Opt Out?

May 7 at 2:48pm CDT By Chuck Myron

MAY 7TH: It’s still too early to say definitively that Afflalo will opt out, sources tell The Oregonian’s Joe Freeman, who writes in a roundtable report that examines the shooting guard’s brief time with the Blazers and whether the team should bring him back for next season.

MAY 1ST: Arron Afflalo intends to turn down a $7.75MM player option for next season and become a free agent this summer, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.com. That’s even though a shoulder injury forced him to miss the initial two games of Portland’s first-round series against the Grizzlies and seemed to limit him the rest of the way. Afflalo went scoreless over about 29 minutes of play across the final two games of that series, which the Blazers lost 4-1. As the end of the regular season neared, he was reportedly ready to let his postseason performance dictate what he would do with the option, with the plan seemingly having been to opt in if he didn’t play well, so it appears the Sam Goldfeder client has changed course.

The Blazers gave up a first-round pick, among other assets, to acquire Afflalo from the Nuggets at the deadline, but it looks like yet another key member of their team will hit free agency. Fellow shooting guard Wesley Matthews, LaMarcus Aldridge and Robin Lopez are also among the Blazers who can choose to leave this summer. GM Neil Olshey said Thursday that he has contingency plans for each in case they don’t re-sign, and it seems increasingly likely that he’ll have to employ his plan for Aldridge, who no longer appears the safe bet to re-sign that he once was. Portland only has about $23MM in guaranteed salary for next season against a projected $67.1MM cap, so the Blazers have no shortage of flexibility.

Portland has Afflalo’s Bird rights, though unless the Blazers are willing to insert a fifth year in the 29-year-old’s next contract, that will matter little, since he’s not a contender for a maximum salary. The Blazers can offer 7.5% raises instead of 4.5% raises, but another team can offset that with a higher salary in the first year of the deal. Afflalo was the Magic’s leading scorer in 2013/14 with 18.2 points per game, but his scoring was off significantly, from 18.2 points per game last year to 13.3 this season, despite a much less profound dip in the number of his field goal attempts. He was better defensively this season, as Basketball-Reference’s Defensive Box Plus/Minus shows, but he had a woeful 8.2 PER in his 25 regular season games as a Blazer.

Northwest Notes: Singler, Donovan, Draft, Gee

May 6 at 12:14pm CDT By Chuck Myron

Thunder GM Sam Presti reiterated that the Thunder are committed to re-signing Enes Kanter and hope to do so with Kyle Singler as well, pointing to Singler’s shooting, versatility and height in an email interview with Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman. Presti also told Mayberry that he sought input from Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and other Thunder players about the qualities they’d like to see in a coach even though he found it unwise to discuss specific candidates for the team’s coaching vacancy, which he filled with Billy Donovan. Here’s more from around the Northwest Division:

  • Incarnate Word combo guard Denzel Livingston, Ohio power forward Maurice Ndour, Penn State shooting guard D.J. Newbill, Illinois shooting guard Rayvonte Rice and TCU shooting guard Trey Zeigler are scheduled to work out for the Jazz today, the team announced (Twitter link). Michigan State swingman Russell Byrd will join them, as Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops reported Tuesday.
  • It’s not out of the question that the Trail Blazers will re-sign Alonzo Gee this summer, but it’s doubtful, writes Jabari Young of CSNNW.com, speculating that the Hawks, Spurs and Jazz might be decent bets to sign him instead. Gee remained on an NBA roster all season after signing a non-guaranteed minimum-salary contract the Nuggets, who traded him to the Blazers in the Arron Afflalo deal.
  • The Timberwolves made a “colossal blunder” not once but twice in the 2009 draft when they passed over MVP Stephen Curry for point guards Ricky Rubio and Jonny Flynn, as Michael Rand of the Star Tribune examines.

Western Notes: Pelicans, Curry, Batum

May 5 at 10:33pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

The Pelicans would prefer to re-sign all of their free agents this offseason which would allow them to stay over the cap and use the full mid-level exception to sign another veteran player, Zach Lowe of Grantland.com writes. New Orleans currently has $40,582,846 in guaranteed salary and another $16,699,815 in non-guaranteed funds committed for the 2015/16 campaign. Pelicans players who will become unrestricted free agents this summer include Omer Asik, Luke Babbitt, Jimmer Fredette, and Dante Cunningham.

Here’s more out of the NBA’s Western Conference:

  • 2014/15 NBA most valuable player Stephen Curry didn’t initially want the Warriors to draft him, and instead was hoping to go to the Knicks who were selecting one pick later than Golden State, Marc J. Spears of Yahoo! Sports writes. “The Knicks had [pick] eight and we thought in New York he’d be a great fit. We really wanted him to drop to eight,” Curry’s agent Jeff Austin said. “Once we got to seventh, we were like, ‘C’mon man, don’t pick him with [Golden State].’ At the time, the Warriors were not in our mind as a preferred destination.
  • The Blazers could look to deal Nicolas Batum and his expiring contract worth $12,235,750 this offseason, Jabari Young of CSNNW.com writes. When asked about the possibility of being traded, Batum said, “If that happens, it happens. That’s the business, I understand that. I mean, I can’t control that. All I can control is what I put on the court. I know what I am going to do this summer is try to get better.” If Portland is able to unload Batum the team could target Mavs forward Al-Farouq Aminu, Young speculates. Aminu has a player option worth $1,110,602 that he intends to opt out of this summer.
  • Dwight Howard is happy being a member of the Rockets, but he admitted that the venom fans spewed at him as a result of his free agent decisions still weigh on him, Kristie Reiken of The Associated Press relays. “Sometimes it hurts,” Howard said. “It used to hurt a lot more as I went from this guy that everybody likes to everybody hated me because I wanted to play basketball on another team. And I’m like: ‘Hey listen it’s really not that serious. If I stopped playing today, your life is going to be the same, my life is going to be the same, it’s just I’m not going to be playing basketball. So why should it matter what I decide?’

Offseason Outlook: Portland Trail Blazers

May 5 at 2:00pm CDT By Chuck Myron

Guaranteed Contracts

Non-Guaranteed Contracts

Options

Restricted Free Agents/Cap Holds

Unrestricted Free Agents/Cap Holds

Draft Picks

  • 1st Round (23rd overall)

Cap Outlook

  • Guaranteed Salary: $23,073,077
  • Non-Guaranteed Salary: $5,808,345
  • Options: $9,920,465
  • Cap Holds: $48,548,397
  • Total: $87,350,284

Portland’s offseason hinges on one name: LaMarcus Aldridge. It’ll be up to him to decide whether he continues to wear a Trail Blazers uniform or not, and there will surely be a maximum-salary offer from the Blazers waiting there for the Arn Tellem client, with his choice of contract length and option clauses. Aldridge appears, by many accounts, to be reconsidering the pledge he made last summer to re-sign with the team in the offseason ahead, one that he reiterated this past fall as the season began.

Jan 30, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus  Aldridge (12) controls the ball against the Atlanta Hawks during the first half at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

It’s not the first time that the 29-year-old, who turns 30 in July, has wavered on a decision. It seemed as recently as two years ago that his exit from Portland was inevitable as he appeared eager to leave a rebuilding situation behind, but Portland’s quick turnaround in 2013/14 had him talking extension midway through the season. Aldridge put an end to extension talk when he said last summer that he would re-sign when his contract was up in 2015, though that was merely a prudent financial move on his part, as collective bargaining rules greatly disincentivize veteran extensions.

It’s unclear what’s triggered Aldridge’s renewed interest in leaving the Blazers. Portland stumbled down the stretch and fell quietly in the first round of the playoffs, but injuries played an outsized role in that, and Aldridge’s subpar 33.0% shooting in the Grizzlies series contributed to the team’s demise, too. Of course, Aldridge was battling an injury of his own, a torn ligament in his left thumb that was supposed to knock him out for six to eight weeks this season. Instead, he put off surgery and played through it, a decision that seemed only to further cement his status as a Blazers legend before doubts about his future with the team crept in.

Regardless, the Blazers would clearly prefer to keep Aldridge if they can, but if that proves impossible, they won’t be left without a way to contend next season, as was the case when LeBron James and Dwight Howard left their respective teams in recent years. The departure of Aldridge would leave Portland with a chance to open some $40MM in room against a projected $67.1MM cap, about enough to sign two 30% max free agents. More importantly, Damian Lillard‘s presence looms as reason for max-level players to entertain the idea of playing in Portland, as does GM Neil Olshey‘s track record of building winners with the Clippers and Blazers. Portland, in a vacuum, wouldn’t necessarily be an attractive destination to marquee free agents, but with a budding superstar and a canny executive at the helm, the Blazers can put forth a convincing case to stars that they can win.

Marc Stein of ESPN.com raised an intriguing possibility last week when he suggested that the Cavs could enter the picture for Aldridge as a sign-and-trade destination if Kevin Love were to pull a reversal of his own and change his plan to opt in. Love is a California native and went to UCLA, but he first burst onto the national basketball scene while attending high school in suburban Portland. The Blazers would offer him the chance to return to a familiar place and a more expansive role next to Lillard than he’s had with both James and Kyrie Irving in Cleveland. A sign-and-trade would be tricky, since teams over the tax apron can’t take on players via sign-and-trade and Cleveland is in line to zoom well into tax territory, but on the off chance Love does opt out, the Blazers could just sign him outright.

Greg Monroe, to whom the Blazers were linked last summer, looms as a much more obtainable possibility, and so would Roy Hibbert, if he opts out, as Hibbert was reportedly ready to sign an offer sheet with the Blazers in 2012 before the Pacers made it clear they’d match. Of course, Hibbert hasn’t performed like a star lately and probably wouldn’t merit the max, and there are plenty of soon-to-be free agent big men whom Portland might find more valuable, like DeAndre Jordan, Paul Millsap, Brook Lopez and Tristan Thompson. None aside from Love and Marc Gasol are Aldridge’s equal among interior players in this year’s free agent class, but Gasol seems committed to Memphis.

Of course, Aldridge isn’t the only significant soon-to-be free agent in Portland. The value of Wesley Matthews has never been more apparent than over the last two months since the theretofore remarkably durable shooting guard tore his left Achilles tendon. The fortunes of just about every Blazers free agent seem intrinsically linked to Aldridge, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Portland pushes hard to bring back Matthews regardless of what happens with the power forward. It’s uncertain if the Knicks have abandoned their reported interest in the wake of the injury, which threatens to keep him from starting next season on time, and surely other teams will be wary of his recovery. Matthews turns 29 in October, but the injury is far from a death knell for his long-term productivity. If the Blazers are willing to stomach a market value deal given the possibility of a lengthy recovery and a slow adjustment to playing again, they can probably bring back one of their anchors, as he’s expressed a preference to remain in Portland.

The Blazers acquired Arron Afflalo at the deadline to serve as a sixth man behind Matthews, but the former Nuggets shooting guard wound up starting before missing time with an injury of his own to his shoulder. That injury cost Afflalo time in the postseason and was conceivably at the root of his woeful performance, but he nonetheless reportedly plans to opt out. He stands as an in-house alternative to Matthews, but the emergence of C.J. McCollum, who’s on a rookie deal much cheaper than what Afflalo will surely command, casts doubt on Portland’s need to hang on to the Sam Goldfeder client. Still, if all of the team’s other key free agents come back at salaries commensurate to what they’re making now, it would be difficult for the Blazers to afford a replacement who can produce the way Afflalo does.

Robin Lopez appeared to be the missing piece last season, when the Blazers shot from 33-49 to 54-28 and a first-round playoff series victory. The 27-year-old’s production slipped this season, though part of that had to do with a dip in playing time as the Blazers sought to make use of an upgraded bench. His game might not be quite as complementary to a big man who isn’t Aldridge, so if Aldridge leaves this summer, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Blazers look elsewhere for a starting center. Lopez would be a natural draw for brother Brook Lopez, but Brook appears likely to opt out and re-sign with the Nets, and the twins probably wouldn’t be as effective an on-court pairing as they were at Stanford.

Complicating the frontcourt for the Blazers is Meyers Leonard‘s candidacy for a rookie scale extension this summer. The former 11th overall pick rebuilt his game and added a three-point shot after falling out of the rotation last season, and he was strong on the boards in the playoffs, averaging 11.2 rebounds per 36 minutes. He switched agents, hiring the Creative Artists Agency and Aaron Mintz, a hint that he intends to push for a deal this summer.

Of course, Leonard isn’t the most prominent Blazer up for a rookie scale extension. That distinction belongs to Lillard, who’s already made it clear that he has no plans to settle for less than a full five-year max deal. Portland probably won’t hesitate to give it to him and jump at the chance to secure the two-time All-Star for the long term. Regardless of whether the extension would prompt Aldridge to chafe against the notion that he’s not the team’s top priority, a feeling he sensed earlier in his career, the Blazers can’t afford to dally with Lillard. Quickly securing the elite point guard in the first few days of July would allow marquee free agents to bank on the chance that they’d have a star running mate for years to come if they were to sign with Portland. Aldridge might not want to be a team’s No. 2 priority, but surely other talented free agents would.

There’s little doubt that Aldridge holds all the cards this summer in Portland, but unlike some other teams, the Blazers don’t have all their chips in front of a single superstar. The preferable outcome involves the power forward returning, but the Blazers have the wherewithal to quickly jump back into contention this coming season or in 2015/16 if he bolts.

Cap Footnotes

1 — Kaman’s salary is partially guaranteed for $1,000,000.
2 — The cap hold for Afflalo if he opts out would be $11,625,000
3 — The cap hold for Blake if he opts out would be $2,492,400
4 — The cap hold for Aldridge will be the lesser of $24,384,000 and the NBA’s maximum salary for a veteran of nine seasons. It will likely be the latter, so an estimate is used above.
5 — This presumes the estimated average salary for 2015/16 won’t be equal to or greater than Lopez’s $6,124,729 salary from this season. If it is, Lopez’s cap hold would instead be $11,636,985.
6 — See our glossary entry on cap holds for an explanation why Watson technically remains on the books.

The Basketball Insiders Salary Pages were used in the creation of this post. Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Western Notes: Batum, Parsons, Rockets

May 4 at 9:55pm CDT By Dana Gauruder

The Trail Blazers could move Nicolas Batum as he enters the final year of his contract, Jabari Young of CSNNW.com speculates. Batum, who will make approximately $12.2MM next season, may be shopped since GM Neil Olshey expects to actively reshape his roster this summer, Young continues. Wrist, knee and back injuries led to a disappointing 2014/15 season for Batum, as he indicated in his exit interview, the story adds. “I didn’t play the way I used to play,” he said. “I’ve been thinking too much.” If the Blazers trade Batum, they could make a run at Mavericks forward Al-Farouq Aminu, who has declared he will opt out of the final year of his contract and seek long-term security.

In other news around the Western Conference:

  • Chandler Parsons will take an active role in recruiting free agents for the Mavericks this summer, Eddie Sefko of the Dallas Morning News writes. Parsons, who underwent knee surgery last week, feels obligated to help the team land its free-agent targets and has developed plenty of contacts and relationships around the league to make that happen, Sefko continues. Parsons is sold on the organization and has a sales pitch ready when the time comes, Sefko adds. “We have a great organization,” Parsons said to Sefko. “We have high expectations. We have the best owner in sports. We’re definitely moving in the right direction, and we have a lot of pieces that would fit well with the free agents out there right now. And we have a great coach, so I think we’re moving in the right direction. We’re a championship-caliber team.”
  • Clippers coach Doc Rivers believes the Rockets became a better defensive team with the additions of Josh Smith, Corey Brewer and Pablo Prigioni, according to Jenny Dial Creech of the Houston Chronicle. Smith was signed by the Rockets after the Pistons released him in December during the second year of his four-year contract. Brewer was acquired from the Timberwolves in a three-team trade during the same month, while Prigioni was dealt by the Knicks in February. “They have added great personnel,” Rivers said to the media covering the Clippers-Rockets playoff series. “When you think about the guys they added, Prigioni is a tough defensive guard and Corey Brewer has been amazing for them. Josh Smith has really been big, too.”

Western Notes: Thunder, Blazers, Spurs

May 3 at 9:17pm CDT By Will Joseph

It would behoove Tim Duncan to convince LaMarcus Aldridge to join the Spurs this summer, Buck Harvey of the San Antonio Express-News writes. The Spurs are reportedly at the top of Aldridge’s list. Duncan, 39, would have a more realistic shot at another title playing alongside Aldridge, a native of Texas, if Duncan decides he wants to play next season, Harvey adds. Harvey also speculates that since Aldridge already has a list of teams in May, the star forward conceivably will be on the move.

There’s more from the Western Conference:

  • Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard’s intention to seek a maximum contract extension from the team this offseason is a shrewd move and one that makes Portland’s offseason even trickier, John Canzano of the Oregonian opines. Lillard is basically using Aldridge’s free agency as leverage, Canzano writes. If the team says no to Lillard, it seemingly sends a signal to Aldridge that it’s not invested in competing, Canzano adds. As reported last week, Lillard has no plans to consider agreeing to an extension for less than the designated maximum.
  • Thunder GM Sam Presti said he was looking for a coach with tactical gumption and Darnell Mayberry of The Oklahoman writes the executive found one in former Florida coach Billy Donovan. The new coach wants to put an emphasis on unselfish ball movement and a lot of offensive freedom for players, Mayberry adds, which is similar to what the Thunder tried to implement last season before injuries helped derail expectations. More creativity would benefit the Thunder, Mayberry writes, and the consensus among those the reporter interviewed is that Donovan is the man who can add that aspect to the team. Another important part of the hire is that Donovan has solid experience working with players like Russell Westbrook, who is very talented, but has an emotionally charged personality, Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman writes.

Northwest Notes: Lawson, Matthews, Crabbe

May 3 at 9:52am CDT By Arthur Hill

Ty Lawson‘s days with the Nuggets may be numbered, according to Christopher Dempsey of The Denver Post. Lawson created a stir on Instagram last week when he responded to a question from a Mavericks fan about playing in Dallas with the phrase, “I wish.” The incident might not mean much on its own, but Dempsey points out that there were rumors this season that Lawson wanted out of Denver. He writes that Lawson was never comfortable in former coach Brian Shaw’s halfcourt offense, and that the constant losing wore him down. Dempsey charges that Lawson undermined Shaw by not playing as hard as he could and by having a series of off-court disciplinary problems.

There’s more news from the Northwest Division:

  • Free agent Wesley Matthews isn’t sure if he’ll be back in Portland next season, reports Kerrry Eggers of The Portland Tribune. Matthews, 28, is still rehabbing from surgery he had in March for a torn Achilles tendon. He will be among the top shooting guards on the market this summer. “So much stuff can happen between now and when free agency starts,” he said in response to a question about returning to the Blazers. “Ideally, perfect situation, yeah, who doesn’t want to go for the ideal, perfect situation? But right now, my focus is on getting [the foot] right.” Center Robin Lopez said he is “very open” to re-signing with Portland.
  • Allen Crabbe filled in effectively when the Blazers needed him, but still faces an uncertain future in the NBA, according to Jabari Young of CSNNW.com.  Crabbe appeared in 51 games this season and helped the team go 4-0 as a starter when Nicolas Batum was sidelined with an injury. But Crabbe’s contract for next year isn’t guaranteed, which means he will have to fight to earn a roster spot. “The offseason is really going to have to be a lot of focus on the things I need to improve on,” Crabbe said.
  • Billy Donovan’s biggest challenge as Thunder coach will be to get his stars to buy into his system, writes Royce Young of ESPN. At Florida, Donovan ran an NBA-style offense that emphasized trust over individuality, but NBA stars don’t necessarily like that approach to the game. Scott Brooks tried to invoke a similar philosophy last season, Young notes, but it was overwhelmed by injuries.

Northwest Notes: Donovan, Matthews, Durant

May 2 at 5:11pm CDT By Eddie Scarito

New Thunder coach Billy Donovan indicated that he had no second thoughts about making the jump to the NBA this time, unlike his previous flirtation with the Magic back in 2007, Royce Young of ESPN.com writes. “I think the Orlando situation really had nothing to do with Orlando,” Donovan said. “It had a lot more to do with me and I think where I was at, at that time in my life. We were coming off two national championships and I didn’t feel like my job was completed there. I felt like I had more to do. This time around, when Sam [Presti] called and said he wanted to meet and talk, I knew it was going to have to take something very, very special.

Here’s what else is happening around the Northwest Division:

  • Donovan also understands that his new job with the Thunder comes with a level of pressure and expectations that he didn’t have to deal with coaching at the NCAA level, Young notes. “I think any time you walk into the unknown, there’s going to be a level of uncertainty — I don’t think there’s any question about that. I’m OK with that,” Donovan said. “I’m excited for the challenge, I’m excited to bring value.
  • Unrestricted free agent Wesley Matthews says that his ideal outcome would be to re-sign with the Trail Blazers this summer, Sean Meagher of The Oregonian writes. The swingman also acknowledged that he has the ideal setting for him in Portland as he recovers from a torn Achilles tendon he suffered this season. “So much stuff can happen between now and when free agency starts,” Matthews said. “Ideally, perfect situation, yeah. Who doesn’t want to go for the perfect situation?
  • One of Donovan’s most important jobs as coach of the Thunder will be to build rapport with Kevin Durant, who can depart as an unrestricted free agent after the 2015/16 campaign, Anthony Slater of The Oklahoman notes. The new coach addressed his star’s pending free agency, saying, “Whatever decision that he [Durant] has to make, I feel very, very strongly about the organization, about [GM] Sam Presti, about Mr. [Clay] Bennett and the [franchise’s] commitment. I think a lot of those things probably line up with Kevin and how he feels. So I feel very, very confident in the organization and I think the organization and Kevin – from an outsider because I’m just coming in right now – are a great match.