Gerald Henderson has enjoyed his first season in Portland and wouldn’t mind seeing it turn into a long-term relationship, writes Joe Freeman of The Oregonian. Henderson quickly assumed a leadership role with the Blazers after being traded there from Charlotte last offseason. Even though he’s had to accept a reserve spot, Henderson says he’s happy being a “big-minute player.” He will be among at least six Portland free agents this summer, so a return isn’t certain despite apparent interest on both sides. “If they want me back and we can come up with a contract that makes sense, then I’d love to come back here,” Henderson said. “This has been a great year. I was just telling the guys; this has probably been one of the most fun teams I’ve been on. This has been one of my most fun years. Because we’ve really worked for this. We’ve really earned this. It’s a tight group, a great group of guys.”
There’s more out of the Pacific Northwest:
- Meyers Leonard is also hoping to stay in Portland, Freeman writes in a separate story. The Blazers’ back-up big man is out for the season with a torn labrum in his left shoulder. He will have surgery soon and faces a six- to eight-month rehab process. Leonard will be a restricted free agent this summer after turning down a contract extension in October, and the injury could limit the offers he gets from other teams. He hopes to be ready in time for training camp. “I believe that I can be a key piece of the future,” Leonard said. “Obviously, [I was] drafted with Damian Lillard. Been here with [coach] Terry [Stotts]. And I think that [GM] Neil [Olshey], the guys, coaches, understand what I bring.”
- Also headed for free agency is small forward Moe Harkless, who moved into the starting lineup in the wake of Leonard’s injury, relates Mike Richman of The Oregonian. Harkless, who is averaging 13 points and 5.8 rebounds per game since the change was made, was acquired from Orlando in an offseason deal. “I just got to be ready to be out there,” Harkless said of his new role. “Before I was just not really being out [on the floor] at crucial times in the game, but now I just got to stay ready and be ready to go.” He is making nearly $2.9MM in the final year of his contract.