1:40pm: Watford’s promotion and Smith’s release are now official, according to an announcement from the Trail Blazers. Portland now has an open two-way slot.
11:40am: The Trail Blazers have reached an agreement on a deal with rookie forward Trendon Watford that will promote him from his two-way contract to the 15-man roster and give him a new four-year contract, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).
According to Wojnarowski, Portland will waive guard Dennis Smith Jr. in order to create an opening on the 15-man roster for Watford. Smith is currently sidelined due to an elbow injury.
Watford’s new four-year contract will be worth $5.8MM, says Wojnarowski. The Blazers will dip into their mid-level exception in order to go up to four years and to give the 21-year-old a salary worth a little more than the prorated minimum for the rest of 2021/22 — the remaining three years will be worth the minimum. Additionally, the final two seasons of the deal will be non-guaranteed, according to Woj.
Watford, who went undrafted out of LSU in 2021, quickly caught on with the Trail Blazers on a two-way deal and was one of the very first players to officially sign a contract once the ’21/22 league year started in August.
Watford began the season out of the rotation and didn’t play double-digit minutes in a game until January 3, but he has appeared in every one of Portland’s games since then. In 24 games since the calendar flipped to 2022, he’s averaging 5.5 PPG and 3.9 RPG on 60.4% shooting in 15.5 minutes per contest. We identified him last week as one of the players on two-way contracts who was a candidate for a promotion.
Smith, 24, signed a non-guaranteed contract with Portland in the 2021 offseason and won a roster spot in training camp. He appeared in 37 games for the team, averaging 5.6 PPG, 3.6 APG, 2.4 RPG, and 1.2 SPG in 17.2 minutes per contest. Before he injured his elbow, the former lottery pick had become a more regular part of the rotation due to Damian Lillard‘s absence.
The fact that Portland is opting to waive Smith rather than injured forward Joe Ingles, who was acquired for salary-matching purposes at this month’s trade deadline, suggests that the team may still see value in Ingles’ Bird rights. However, with Ingles out for the rest of the season due to a torn ACL, he remains a candidate to be cut in the coming weeks if the Blazers want to make another signing.
25 thoughts on “Trail Blazers Promote Trendon Watford, Waive Dennis Smith Jr.”
Wonder if they are holding onto him in case of sign in trade. But what are they going to get for a (about-to-be) 35 y/o coming of ACL tear?
His game isn’t predicated on explosion. This is a guy that knows how to play the game. He’ll be a good vet to have for multiple reasons (experience/passing/shooting). He can do for Portland what Gallo has done for Atlanta the past few seasons
I wonder if Mavs fans regret the DSJ pick like the Knicks with Ntilikina. Donovan Mitchell would definitely look good along side Doncic right now. Was Mitchell not that highly regarded coming out of College?
DSJ was much more entertaining & productive even just in his rookie season than Frank was in 4yrs in NY. DSJ also led to them acquiring KP who helped them get to the playoffs twice. Frank didn’t do anything like that.. As far as Spida obv Utah hit big with him. He dominated DSJ in college when they played but tbh I can sorta see why he wasn’t seen as an elite prospect. He didn’t have those inherent pg skills & it wasn’t obv that he was gonna be a 25+/gm type scorer. I never really known Pitino to have big scorers on his teams tbh tho, sorta like Dean Smith in that way. In his sophomore yr it was obv from early on that he was much improved from his freshman season but even seeing him have a really efficient season I still saw him as a Ben Gordon type in the league. I sorta thought he’d be too small to play 2guard but that clearly hasn’t been a problem. Plus he’s unreal as a scorer
Kp never helped the mavs. That is why they traded him for two of the worst contracts in the league. Dennis smith is just as much as a bust as French frank. French frank is still in league and even if he’s cut will go to Europe. Dennis smith is basically done. Now injuries have been a MAJOR problem but to insinuate that the Dennis smith pk helped the mavs is silly and to say frank is more of a bust than dennis is silly. Dennis – 24m 220 game 450efg 4 asst 10 pts frank-18m260 400 2.5asst 5pts per minute the stats are Slightly in Dennis favor but frank plays great defense and is always available. what your saying is true Dennis smith had a way more entertains and productive rookie year, but that helped the mavs zero. In a redraft I would assume almost every team would pick frank. They both suck but frank is healthy and can d up
Smh.. he scored over 2500pts for them. They don’t make the playoffs the past few yrs if not for him. The team was clearly better with him on the court & he was 1 of their best shooters as well as their best rim protector. You say Davis & Dinwiddie are horrible contracts yet you forget that they are both very good basketball players who will obv both help Dallas out alot just like KP did… Where did I say anything about Frank or DSJ being a bust? Everything I said about those guys was true & apparently even you agree with that lol
A salary dump and a pick.
Remember when Dennis Smith was good?
I think he just put up numbers on a bad team. Once he got traded his career fell apart.
Lakers need him desperately, he’d be their 2nd best player
No, he was never good. Never not horrible, actually. Not in the NBA and not in college. How he got drafted so high, and survived this long, in the NBA is a tribute to the gaps in the NBA’s talent evaluation methods for teenagers.
lmao nah dude this kid was really good as far as having elite singular attributes like shooting, athleticism, ball-handling. He is sorta just now learning how to be an actual pg tho & make good decisions & run good offense. His former coach Chauncey was similar tbh but an extra yr of college definitely helped Chauncey compared to DSJ. He is still gonna be a good backup pg in the league tho. His career will probably resemble Sebastian Telfair, another talented pg that could’ve used a lil more seasoning before being a starting NBA pg
He might not get another shot in the league.
If you wish hard enough he might not. Make sure you wish as hard as you can
You’d do better to learn vs laugh. BTW, it’s easier to evaluate a guy when you don’t have your head up his butt. In case you were wondering what that’s like.
Telfair had serious BB skills. His issues were his lack of size/power, and habits (came right from HS and AAU). DSJ was a much more powerful and explosive athlete, but lacked the basic BB skills you need at PG. No vision, no BB IQ and no outside shot. He couldn’t defend. Basically, he as an eye sore at the position. His one year at NC State, he led them to a 4-14 conference record, and got a HC fired. I don’t think they could afford to give him any more seasoning. It worked out for everyone (except the fired HC). DSJ left and he got drafted in the top 10, and NC State made the NCAA T the next year.
‘having elite singular attributes like shooting’
Gotta disagree here. He’s always been an inefficient volume scorer. Shooting has never been his strength.
Dsj is only 24
Man this site has turned into so many trolls
1.2 steals in 17 mpg is noteworthy
He has game
He is one of several busts that draft.
Pretty disappointed in Lefty. Where are you man? Ben Simmons is gone bring on the DSJ era.
In relatively small sample sizes DSJ has actually put up some decent defensive #s. The problem is he’s horrendous offensively, and defensive PGs have never been less valued.
If he could learn how to shoot above 35% on spot up 3s he might have a place in the league
He’s pretty much along the lines of a Kris Dunn. I think he gets more chances because of where he was drafted that ‘potential’ aspect. If he was a 2nd rounder his career would be like Shelvin Mack.
Not much you can do with a 6’2 guard that can’t shoot. If he isn’t getting to the rim, it’s not going in. He’s even bad from the stripe.
Maybe he can improve his shot, but he may have to go overseas. You have to develop a niche to stay in the league. Look at Ben McLemore. Highly touted out of Kansas, basically a bust that turned himself into a decent corner 3 guy.
Unfortunately getting to NBA is enough for some players. Plenty of talented guys walking around with a few yrs in NBA. No player should be satisfied at 20-24 with their gm. You should always want to improve till end. Ben shooting ? His FT %.
But if you are not getting better every day from 20-24. Even if team is not looking out for you. (Like plenty teams have done to young prospects). Then you are failing yourself. Smith and Frank both have the talent to play in NBA. In the end it’s your life so own it. Learn the Freakin game.
Loved watching Jr. in those college basketball dunk contest days.His dunks we’re electrifying and when he jumped it took him forever to come down.His game is penetrating and flush.I hate to say it but he looks like he’s playing scared and doesn’t ever look loose.In college he took over games and was a masterful creature of his own shoots and he really competed hard even though most nites they were overmatched.He needs to go somewhere and play minutes.
I still believe in you Dennis
Boston should sign D.Smith,J.Johnson and give J Okafor a chance