Damian Lillard

Woj/Lowe On Blazers, Jordan, Cavs, Hornets

With the February 8 trade deadline right around the corner, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski appeared this morning on Zach Lowe’s Lowe Post podcast to address some rumors and discuss some trade possibilities for teams around the NBA. While Wojnarowski and Lowe didn’t drop any bombshells during their hour-long conversation, the duo did share several items of note, so let’s dive in and round up some highlights…

  • Although the Trail Blazers had interest in Clippers center DeAndre Jordan, Wojnarowski hears that Portland has “backed away” as of late. According to Woj, it’s “entirely possible” that Jordan won’t get traded at all this week — the Clips may prefer to simply let him walk in free agency rather than taking on a bad contract or two in order to get a late first-round pick back in a trade.
  • Wojnarowski and Lowe discussed Brooklyn’s 2018 first-round pick at length, exploring what sort of deal would entice the Cavaliers to surrender that first-rounder. The duo agreed that Cleveland wouldn’t offer it to the Clippers for Jordan. In Woj’s view, it would take a Paul George-type veteran or a young star on a rookie contract to get the Cavs to part with that pick, but that sort of player isn’t really available.
  • The Cavaliers and Hornets have “definitely talked,” with those conversations presumed to have focused on Kemba Walker. That doesn’t mean that any deal is likely though, as virtually every team with any sort of need at point guard has checked in with the Hornets about Walker, per Wojnarowski.
  • Despite ongoing speculation that they’ll need to break up their star backcourt at some point, the Trail Blazers have “summarily rejected” any inquiries on Damian Lillard and/or C.J. McCollum, says Lowe. Maurice Harkless is a more realistic trade candidate in Portland, according to Wojnarowski, who says the Kings are one team that has had interest in Harkless in the past.
  • While the Nets aren’t necessarily looking to trade Spencer Dinwiddie, they’d have to consider it if they could get a first-round pick, according to Lowe. Woj agreed with that assessment.

Northwest Notes: Roberson, Millsap, Lillard

The Thunder have limited options in trying to replace Andre Roberson through trades, writes Kevin Pelton of ESPN. Oklahoma City lost its best wing defender Saturday when Roberson was carried off the court in Detroit with a ruptured patellar tendonTerrance Ferguson and Alex Abrines are potential replacements on the roster, but both have deficiencies in their games and neither can match Roberson’s defensive prowess. Josh Huestis has similar skills to Roberson, but only shoots 28.4% from 3-point range.

Offseason deals for Paul George and Carmelo Anthony pushed the team over the luxury tax, with a projected $20MM payment due this season. Also, OKC doesn’t have a first-round pick available to trade until 2024. Pelton suggests trying to improve the offense by getting a lower-salary guard like Brooklyn’s Joe Harris, who is making a little more than $1.5MM on an expiring contract, or possibly dealing Abrines for Atlanta’s Marco Belinelli, who has a $6.6MM expiring deal.

There’s more news from the Northwest Division:

  • The Thunder have a pair of trade exceptions available, posts Bobby Marks on ESPN Now. However, they are only valued at $2.55M and $1.49M, so the team’s options with those exceptions will be limited.
  • Nuggets forward Paul Millsap remains on schedule to return from wrist surgery after the All-Star break, according to Gina Mizell of The Denver Post. Millsap hasn’t played since mid-November because of a torn ligament in his left wrist, but he is able to participate in shooting, ball handling and catching drills and work on conditioning. “There are good days and bad days,” coach Mike Malone said. “He’s a little sore right now from that ramping up his on-court activity, but he’s fired up. He’s working hard.” Millsap, who signed a three-year, $90MM contract over the summer, was averaging 15.3 points and 6.2 rebounds before being sidelined.
  • Damian Lillard‘s recent meeting with Trail Blazers owner Paul Allen could be the first step in seeking a trade, speculates John Canzano of The Oregonian. Lillard met with Allen without the knowledge of coach Terry Stotts or GM Neil Olshey. They reportedly discussed the state of the team, but Canzano thinks Lillard may have demanded a roster upgrade and given himself leeway to ask for a trade if it doesn’t happen before next year’s deadline.

Lillard Met With Blazers’ Owner To Discuss Team’s Direction

Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard met last Thursday with team owner Paul Allen to discuss the direction of the franchise, league sources tell ESPN’s Chris Haynes. According to Haynes, Lillard requested the meeting in order to reaffirm his commitment to the club and to receive assurances that Allen remains devoted to putting together a championship-caliber roster.

League sources tell Haynes that Allen was worried in the weeks leading up to the meeting that his star point guard would ask for a trade, but Lillard made no such request. Per ESPN’s report, the 27-year-old did make it clear during the sitdown that he “desperately” wants to win a title in Portland, inquiring about how the Blazers’ brass plans to try to make that happen during his prime years.

The meeting represents the first time that Lillard and Allen have sat down privately to discuss the state of the franchise, but Haynes’ sources described it as a productive session that could lead to more meetings in the future. No one else in the organization was aware of the meeting until after the fact, when Allen informed both the basketball and business operations staffs, according to Haynes.

Haynes’ report also provides a few details on topics discussed during the sitdown, noting that Lillard gave head coach Terry Stotts a “heartfelt vote of confidence.” However, the point guard questioned the front office’s decision to trade Will Barton in 2015, making it known that he disagreed with the move. Conversely, Allen sought an explanation from Lillard for the Blazers’ inconsistent play in the first half of this season. Lillard and Allen also talked about possible trade targets, Haynes notes.

Lillard remains under contract through the 2020/21 season and has shown no desire to leave Portland, but requesting a meeting with ownership signals that he’ll be monitoring the front office’s roster moves closer than ever going forward. With Lillard, C.J. McCollum, Evan Turner, Maurice Harkless, and Meyers Leonard all locked up to eight-figure salaries through at least 2019/20, the Blazers don’t have a ton of cap flexibility, so it will be interesting to see how president Neil Olshey and his staff look to upgrade the club’s roster at the deadline and in the offseason.

And-Ones: Predictions, Discipline, Prospects

In a debut installment of a new feature, Marc Stein of the New York Times made a number of predictions for the upcoming year in basketball. The scribe ventures a guess that this is the year the Trail Blazers blow up their backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum.

Stein writes that dealing one of the star guards would be the easiest way for the Blazers to balance their roster, something that could come in handy if the organization seeks to go in a new direction. Bear in mind, however, that Stein’s prediction applies to this year and not necessarily to this season.

Stein also makes a series of arguments that a pair of big names stay with their current teams, despite ongoing speculation to the contrary. The Times journalist says that LeBron James to the Lakers is no guarantee and that Cleveland stands a legitimate chance of retaining the King.

On a similar note, Stein reasons that DeMarcus Cousins isn’t likely to find the market teeming with attractive salary offers this season and that he’ll end up staying put with the Pelicans.

There’s more from around the league:

  • One possible solution to curb the growing tension between NBA players and referees is to ramp up the discipline assigned to players who act hostile to officials. “The hammer has to drop from above,” one Western Conference team official told Ken Berger of Bleacher Report. “When you had David Stern and Rod Thorn there, none of this stuff was going on because they weren’t going to put up with it. I think we’ve gotten away from that. There’s something every night.
  • Four active front offices have made a dozen or more trade deadline deals over the course of their tenures, Bobby Marks of ESPN weighed in on them and the rest of the league’s executives in his latest for ESPN Insiders.
  • There has been plenty of movement among the DraftExpress team’s list of the top 100 NBA prospects. Jonathan Givony of ESPN recently broke down a number of NCAA players who’ve recently seen their values rise dramatically.

Trail Blazers Notes: Stotts, Lillard, Collins

Players are standing behind Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts through the team’s inconsistent performance, according to Jason Quick of NBC Sports Northwest. Stotts has become a target of fan anger during a 20-18 start that has included losses to lower-level teams such as the Hawks, Nets and Kings. With 13 returning players, Portland was counting on continuity to improve on last year’s .500 performance, but the Blazers have often struggled to score and enter tonight last in the league in assists and 25th in total offense.

“We all know what’s going on,’’ Ed Davis said. “The guys on the team, we read about it, and I know Coach does … that ‘Hot Seat’ stuff and things like that. Everybody sees it, and I know while I’m here, [along with] a bunch of the rest of the guys in the locker room, we are going to fight for Coach. Every night. There is no quit in us. He’s our leader.’’

Stotts is in his sixth year as Portland’s coach, compiling a 243-205 record with four straight playoff appearances. He has one more season left on the contract extension he signed after the 2015/16 season.

There’s more today out of Portland:

  • Damian Lillard said his admiration for Stotts factored into his decision to accept an extension with the Blazers in 2015, Quick adds in the same piece. Lillard has been a strong defender of the coach, including a publicized interaction with a fan on Instagram in November. The star point guard said owner Paul Allen hasn’t asked him about Stotts, but he knows what he would say if Allen or GM Neil Olshey approached him about a coaching change. “I would want to know why,’’ Lillard said. “Because I honestly don’t feel like he is the issue. As players we have to do things a lot better. I honestly feel like he is one of the better coaches in the league as far as being an offensive coach, but also in giving players an opportunity, and connecting with the players, too. And then we have a great coaching staff. That is not the issue.’’
  • Lillard was surprised to end up in Portland in the 2012 draft, relays Noel Harris of The Sacramento Bee. In response to a fan’s question on Twitter, Lillard said he expected be taken by the Kings, who held the fifth pick, one ahead of the Blazers. Sacramento opted for Thomas Robinson, who played for six teams in five years and is currently in Russia.
  • Rookie center Zach Collins has brought some toughness to the Blazers, writes Mike Richman of The Oregonian. Collins has earned a spot in the rotation over the past month after seeing little playing time to start the season. “The biggest thing is his character has come through in that he’s aggressive, he’s determined,” Stotts said. “After a tough summer, he came in and wanted to improve. I think it just shows his determination.”

Damian Lillard To Return On Tuesday

Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, who hasn’t played since December 20 due to a hamstring injury, will make his return to the court on Tuesday night, confirms ESPN’s Chris Haynes (Twitter link). Lillard had initially said on Monday that he planned to play in tonight’s game against the Cavaliers in Cleveland (Twitter link via Jason Quick of NBC Sports Northwest).

A two-time All-Star, Lillard is enjoying another strong season in Portland so far in 2017/18. Although his FG% (.418) and 3PT% (.348) are career lows, he has still managed to average an impressive 25.2 PPG, 6.4 APG, and 5.0 RPG.

The Blazers, who went 3-2 in Lillard’s absence, are currently tied for sixth in the Western Conference with a 19-17 overall mark. They’ll resume their push for a playoff spot with their standout point guard back in the lineup tonight.

Northwest Notes: Lillard, Nurkic, Nuggets, Wolves

Damian Lillard has become the face of the Trail Blazers and one of the most dynamic point guards in the NBA. By the same token, the 27-year-old has taken on a mentorship role with Portland, specifically with young center Jusuf Nurkic. In a well-written piece by NBC Sports Northwest’s Jason Quick, Lillard’s relationship with Nurkic is highlighted in comparison to Lillard’s relationship with the departed LaMarcus Aldridge.

As a mentor for the 23-year-old Nurkic, Lillard said their relationship is “almost what I wish I had with LaMarcus.’’  Lillard and Aldridge were teammates in Portland during Dame’s first three NBA seasons. While the duo enjoyed some success, the team never managed a deep playoff run. In turn, Lillard wants to provide Nurkic with the help he never received while teammates with Aldridge.

“Me and LaMarcus had a good relationship. We never had a single argument. We really got along,’’ Lillard said. “I’m just saying the stuff I want to go out of my way to do for (Nurkic), is the stuff I wish I got from LaMarcus.’’

For his part, Nurkic said that Lillard is “the best thing that has happened to me in my life.’’ Thus far, Nurkic’s career in Portland has been strong as he’s averaging 14.3 PPG and 7.2 RPG through the Trail Blazers’ first 17 games. In Lillard’s view, Nurkic has a high ceiling and he wants to do his part to help him reach it.

“With Nurk, I know how good he is, how good he could be, I know what he means to the team, so I don’t want to let that opportunity slip,’’ Lillard said. “I don’t want him to feel any less important. I don’t want to be like (sucks teeth) ‘he good enough he will figure it out.’”

Check out other notes across the Northwest Division:

  • After crowded frontcourt rotation has become a feature rather than a bug for the Nuggets, who will have to rely heavily on the likes of Kenneth Faried and Mason Plumlee to produce in Paul Millsaps absence, Gina Mizell of the Denver Post writes. As we noted earlier, Millsap may miss two or three months after undergoing surgery on his left wrist.
  • In a lengthy feature, ESPN’s Nick Friedell writes that time has run out for the Timberwolves to wait for winning based on the team’s potential. With a 10-7 record, Minnesota occupies fifth place in the Western Conference. Head coach Tom Thibodeau said earlier this season that, “If you’re waiting on potential, you’re waiting on losing.” That edict will now follow the team until they prove they can win with a blend of budding superstars and established veterans.

Northwest Notes: Gibson, T. Jones, O’Neale, Lillard

Taj Gibson is justifying the Timberwolves‘ decision to give him a two-year, $28MM contract this summer, writes Britt Robson of The Athletic. Many questioned committing that much to Gibson when Minnesota had obvious needs at the wing and Gorgui Dieng already in place at power forward. Through the first month of the season, Gibson is logging a career high in minutes at 30.7 per game, while Dieng’s playing time has been cut to 15.4 per night from 32.4 a year ago.

“I talk to Gorgui every day. That’s my guy,” Gibson said. “He understands it too that you want to take care of yourself and be in this league a long time. It’s not about the minutes, it is about the production with the minutes you get. I tell him that you want that option where teams know you can start or come off the bench; that’s how you are a great teammate.”

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Tyus Jones is also finding minutes hard to come by off the Wolves‘ bench, but he is compensating by developing chemistry with center Karl-Anthony Towns, relays Kent Youngblood of The Star-Tribune. Jones, who recently had his fourth-year option picked up, has developed an effective two-man game with Towns. “We’ve known each other since high school,’’ Towns said. “We’ve had a great chemistry. And we play the same style of basketball.”
  • Injuries have presented Jazz small forward Royce O’Neale with an unexpected chance for playing time, notes Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune. Undrafted out of Baylor in 2015, O’Neale spent one season in Germany and another in Spain before getting a shot with Utah’s summer league team. He played a career-high 21 minutes in Friday’s loss to the Nets. “It felt good to play real minutes,” he said. “You never know when your name is going to be called, so I have to take advantage of the playing time when I get the chance. It’s just about going out and executing the work I put into practice every day.”
  • Damian Lillard is coming to the defense of Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts, who is under fire for the team’s sluggish start, writes Mike Richman of The Oregonian. The heat was turned up after Friday’s loss to Sacramento, which prompted Lillard to respond to fans on Instagram. “Late game turnovers and not getting stops has nothing to do with a coach,” Lillard wrote. “Blame me then. This the NBA … we play 82 games and we’ve played 15 and won more than we’ve lost. Relax family.”

Damian Lillard Talks Carmelo, Blazers, Rivals

The Trail Blazers have had one of the NBA’s quietest summers, having not made a single free agent signing until officially inking Archie Goodwin to a camp deal today. On the trade front, Portland’s only major move involved dumping Allen Crabbe‘s exorbitant contract on the Nets — the Blazers acquired Andrew Nicholson in that trade, but subsequently waived him.

Of course, while the Blazers’ cap situation limited their ability to pursue impact free agents, the team’s star guards – Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum – made an effort to recruit a trade candidate. Carmelo Anthony has been unwilling to waive his no-trade clause to join the Blazers, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying from Lillard and McCollum.

Speaking to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, Lillard admitted that he doesn’t love “doing all the extra recruiting” adding that he didn’t want to press Anthony. Despite the fact that Carmelo “didn’t seem opposed” to the idea of playing in Portland, according to Lillard, there has been no indication that a trade between the Blazers and Knicks is a viable possibility.

Lillard expanded on that subject and addressed a few other topics in his conversation with Spears, which includes details on his community work and is worth checking out in full. Here are some of the highlights from the Blazers’ point guard:

On recruiting Carmelo Anthony to waive his no-trade clause for the Trail Blazers:

“I guess they call it tampering or whatever. It’s not against the rules for us to interact with each other. We all peers, we all play in the same league and everybody hints at playing with each other. ‘What you think about this?’ ‘What do you think about that?’ All that matters is whether it got done or did not get done. Or hasn’t got done, and it hasn’t got done. So, it is what it is …

“I’m not giving up on anything. I just think I’ve done what I can do. And camp is a few weeks away. And you have to focus on getting ready with who we are, plan on going in as we are. Whatever changes, the front office will be the ones making that change, with the Knicks and our front office or whatever. But I get my mind focused on what I can control at a certain point.”

On the offseason upgrades made by division and conference rivals:

“It’s tough. The West is tough as always. I think a lot of teams in the West got better on paper, and at the end of the day, things have to work out. A lot of things look good, but it still got to work out. You got to make it work. So, we’ll see how that go.”

On the Trail Blazers’ outlook for 2017/18:

“I got a lot of confidence with everybody on our team. We still got a young team. Obviously, we could improve in a lot of areas as a group. With all the struggles we had last year, we still found a way to get it done and to get into the playoffs, which is what every team goes into the season and tries to get done. So, we make the improvements that we need to make collectively on the defensive end, and just being able to do things at a high level consistently. We should be pretty good.”

Northwest Notes: Butler, Hernangomez, Lillard

A comprehensive feature on Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler has shed some light on how the 30th overall draft pick has changed over the course of his ascent to stardom. Michael Pina of Vice Sports spent a day with the swingman, who describes himself as a difficult person to be around.

This season Butler has been reunited with former Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau, the man at the helm in Chicago when Butler evolved from a fringe roster player to a key rotation piece into a star. For the last two years, however, Butler played under a different coach.

I’m confrontational. I feed off of confrontation. It makes me go,” Butler said. “Not everybody’s like that. [Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg] is not that coach, and there’s nothing wrong with that. There are different coaching styles and people are gonna say—which is what they did say—’It’s gonna be Jimmy’s team or it’s gonna be Fred’s team.’ Two total opposite ends of the spectrum.

Be sure to check out the long-read for fresh perspective on the Timberwolves guard’s backstory and mentality heading forward.

There’s more out of the Northwest Division tonight:

dziennika egzotyczny pieścić medycyny http://kupicpigulki.pl/ centrum medyczne zdrowie Denver