While the Trail Blazers' 13-game losing streak to close the season wasn't pretty, it did help the team load up on draft picks for the coming summer. The Blazers' first-rounder is top-12 protected, which means they'd only lose it if three of the four teams below them in the draft lottery standings jumped up into the top three. In addition to that first-rounder, the Blazers will also keep their own second-rounder (No. 40), and acquire second-rounders from the Timberwolves (No. 39) and Celtics (No. 46). Here's more out of Portland:
- The Trail Blazers haven't had a ton of success in the past luring free agents to Portland, but general manager Neil Olshey, who is viewed around the league as a players' GM, could be a difference-maker in the free agent process, says Jason Quick of the Oregonian.
- Quick also notes, via Twitter, that the Blazers' entire coaching staff is on track to return for next season, assuming assistant Kaleb Canales exercises his option.
- J.J. Hickson told reporters, including Joe Freeman of the Oregonian, that he "definitely" wants to return to Portland, but that his future is "to be determined" (Twitter link).
- Eric Maynor expressed a strong desire to remain with the Blazers, indicating that Portland was a great fit for him and that there'd be no downside to coming back, tweets Freeman. Damian Lillard also endorsed bringing back Maynor or a similar player, noting that having a capable backup point guard helped alleviate the pressure on him (Twitter link).
- One point guard who won't be returning to Portland is Nolan Smith, who told reporters, including Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com (Twitter link), that the team has indicated it's unlikely to bring him back.