SEPTEMBER 24TH, 10:45pm: The deal is official, the team announced.
AUGUST 8TH, 12:33pm: The Blazers have signed free agent small forward James Southerland, according to the RealGM transactions page. The team has made no formal announcement, but the move took place Thursday, according to RealGM. The 24-year-old was briefly with Charlotte and New Orleans last season after going undrafted out of Syracuse in 2013. Terms of the deal are unclear, but it’s likely a summer contract that’ll give Southerland the chance to make the opening night roster out of training camp.
The Spurs had interest in making Southerland the 58th pick of the draft last year if he’d agree to play overseas, but he declined and wound up signing a non-guaranteed deal with the then-Bobcats. He made the team out of camp, though he appeared in only one regular season game before injuries to Michael Kidd-Gilchrist and Jeffery Taylor prompted the club to give Southerland’s roster spot to the more experienced Chris Douglas-Roberts.
The Cavs, Bulls, Thunder and Hawks eyed Southerland once Charlotte cut him loose, but he remained out of the league until the Pelicans inked him in the season’s final week. A spate of injuries worked in Southerland’s favor on that occasion, as he became the 16th player on the New Orleans roster at the mercy of the league, which granted the Pelicans permission to go over the 15-man regular season roster limit so they’d have enough healthy bodies. It might take another unusual set of circumstances for Southerland to remain on Portland’s roster come opening night, since the Blazers already have 15 guaranteed deals, as our roster counts show.
Still, Southerland appeared in just four NBA games last season. He spent the majority of his time with the D-League affiliate of the Lakers, averaging 14.7 points and 6.5 rebounds in 28.6 minutes per game across 42 contests for the L.A. D-Fenders.