Trendon Watford

Trendon Watford Out At Least A Week With Leg Injuries

Trail Blazers forward Trendon Watford suffered a pair of leg injuries Saturday night that could result in an early end to his rookie season, writes Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian.

The team announced that Watford has a hyperextended left knee and a bone bruise in his left leg, and his condition will be re-evaluated in a week. With just two weeks left in the regular season and little chance to reach the play-in tournament, Portland may decide to play it safe with Watford.

The injury occurred late in Saturday’s game against Houston when Watford stepped on Dennis Schröder‘s foot while driving to the basket. He collapsed to the court, and teammates and coaches had to help him to the locker room.

Watford, who led the team with 15 points and 10 rebounds, has been a pleasant surprise in a lost season in Portland. He signed a two-way contract with the Blazers in August after going undrafted out of LSU and had that converted to a standard deal in February. He has appeared in 48 games, starting 10, and is averaging 7.6 points and 4.1 rebounds per night.

Northwest Notes: Jazz, Finch, Wolves, Masks, Simons, Watford

Rudy Gobert still believes in Utah’s title chances this season, even if most of the league has counted the Jazz out, as Sarah Todd of the Deseret News relays.

It’s about embracing the wins and the losses, and I believe in our group,” Gobert said. “I really believe that we can accomplish our goal. … Everything that we’ve been through only helped us grow and have prepared us even for that moment when it comes. I’m excited for the second part of the season and I know that we’re going to be ready to make a push.”

Todd points out that the Jazz have struggled against top-tier teams this season, blowing multiple big leads, and if they truly want to compete for a championship, they can’t afford those types of mental lapses.

We’ve got to learn quickly,” coach Quin Snyder said. “Start developing the ability to push the lead as opposed to essentially giving it back.”

The Jazz don’t have the luxury of an “on-off” switch, they need to be “on” all the time in order to prepare for a postseason push, and Todd believes that level of consistency has been lacking this season.

Here’s more from the Northwest:

  • Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic recently wrote a story about coach Chris Finch‘s eventful first year with the Timberwolves. “He is very direct when he talks to us, to the players,” offensive coordinator Pablo Prigioni said. “He’s honest. He don’t tell the guys what they want to hear, he tells them the truth. He’s not a big talker. But when he talks, he goes to the point. I think the players appreciate that.” After taking over mid-season in 2020/21, Finch has helped lead the Wolves to a 31-28 record this season, seventh in the West.
  • The city of Minneapolis lifted its mask mandate Thursday morning, and the Timberwolves have followed suit. Fans will no longer be required to wear masks inside Target Center arena, the team announced.
  • Trail Blazers rising star Anfernee Simons discussed his situation in Portland with Shams Charania of The Athletic (video link). Simons says the Most Improved Player and Sixth Man of the Year Awards were both goals for him entering this season. “At first, I didn’t know if I was gonna get Most Improved because I wasn’t playing as much, that’s why I keyed in on Sixth Man, but now I’m starting to get a lot of minutes so that’s why I’m keying in on Most Improved. It’s been great how everything’s been working out,” Simons said.
  • Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link) provides details on Trendon Watford‘s new standard contract with the Trail Blazers. Watford was promoted from a two-way deal. Portland used part of its remaining mid-level exception to sign Watford to a four-year deal. He’ll earn $436,482 for the remainder of this season and a guaranteed $1,563,518 next season. The final two seasons, in 2023/24 and ’24/25, are both non-guaranteed, with the Blazers holding a club option in the last season.

Trail Blazers Promote Trendon Watford, Waive Dennis Smith Jr.

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.

Trail Blazers Notes: Hart, Simons, Watford, Winslow

The Trail Blazers acquired Josh Hart last week in the trade that sent CJ McCollum to New Orleans, and Hart is the exact type of player coach Chauncey Billups wants, writes Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian.

He’s my type of player from the standpoint of just being able to go and play both sides of the basketball and just be tough,” Billups said. “Not only tough, but skilled.”

Billups said Hart’s competitiveness shines through: “When he’s out there, he plays with a level of urgency that you love. I’m looking forward to just coaching him.”

In three games with his new club (all wins), Hart is averaging 24 points, 5 rebounds, and 4.3 assists on .600/.524/.765 shooting. Through 44 total games this season (33.7 minutes), he’s averaging 14.1 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 4.1 assists on .514/.351/.754 shooting.

Here’s more from Portland:

  • Hart and rising star Anfernee Simons have showcased great chemistry in their brief time together, Fentress writes in a separate piece for The Oregonian. “He’s going to have a long, successful career in this league,” Hart said of Simons, after Portland beat New York 112-103 on Saturday. “For me, it was just really cool to be able to play off of him and see him take over the game in the third and fourth.”
  • Jason Quick of The Athletic recently wrote an in-depth profile of two-way rookie Trendon Watford, who has become a regular member of Portland’s rotation since the start of 2022. “I’m just scratching the surface,” Watford said. “I’m going to keep getting better.”
  • After dropping six straight games, the surging Blazers have won four in a row, due in no small part to the high-energy, all-around contributions of Hart and Justise Winslow. “I think he has found a home,” Nurkic said of Winslow, according to Quick of The Athletic. Through six games with Portland, Winslow is averaging 12 points, 7.3 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.7 steals in 31.3 minutes per contest.
  • Winslow concurs with Nurkic’s assessment, per Casey Holdahl of the team’s website. “I was just traded here, I’m very happy to be here. God works in his beautiful ways,” said Winslow. “I’ve found a home. I don’t want to go anywhere, I’ve got one more year on this contact. It feels like everyone here is kind of fresh. There’s people in the organization that’s been here a long time but the coaching staff, a lot of the players just got here… I think it’s a good time for me in my life and also my basketball career.” Winslow was acquired as part of the trade that sent Norman Powell and Robert Covington to the Clippers.

COVID-19 Updates: Sixers, Celtics, Rondo, Blazers, More

Sixers wing Danny Green cleared the NBA’s health and safety protocols on Sunday, tweets Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. However, Jaden Springer and Matisse Thybulle are both in the protocols now, joining two-way player Myles Powell.

In the latest injury report for the Sixers’ Monday game vs. Houston, Powell and Springer are both listed as out, while Thybulle is considered questionable. That suggests that the team is likely waiting for the results of Thybulle’s latest COVID-19 test before determining whether or not he’ll be available.

Here are more protocol-related updates from around the NBA:

  • Dennis Schröder and Bruno Fernando returned to action for the Celtics on Sunday after a stint in the health and safety protocols. Jayson Tatum has exited the protocols, but remained sidelined for Sunday’s game — he’s expected to return on Wednesday, tweets Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe.
  • On the LakersSunday injury report, Rajon Rondo was listed as out due to return to competition reconditioning. Rondo had been in the COVID-19 protocols since December 26, which presumably delayed the official completion of the trade sending him to Cleveland. Now that he has cleared the protocols, the Cavaliers and Lakers should soon officially announce that deal.
  • Robert Covington, Trendon Watford, and Keljin Blevins are no longer in the health and safety protocols for the Trail Blazers, per the injury report.
  • Knicks center Jericho Sims remained out of action on Sunday, but he was listed on the injury report as taking part in return to competition conditioning, so he has exited the protocols.
  • McKinley Wright (Timberwolves), Jarrett Culver (Grizzlies), and Jay Scrubb (Clippers) are among the other players who have recently cleared the COVID-19 protocols, according to the league’s injury report.
  • Our full health and safety protocols tracker can be found right here.

COVID-19 Updates: Hawks, Blazers, Celtics, Bucks, Nets

Wesley Iwundu, who just signed a 10-day contract with the Hawks on Thursday, has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Iwundu played 23 minutes in the Hawks’ 98-96 victory over the Sixers Thursday night, scoring two points and grabbing five rebounds. ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets that the Hawks will need to sign another replacement player to replace Iwundu — himself a replacement player.

Hawks big man Onyeka Okongwu, who made his season debut last week, has entered the protocols as well, Sarah K. Spencer of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets. In three games this season (22.3 MPG), Okongwu is averaging 10.3 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 2.0 BPG. The Hawks now have nine players in the protocols.

Here are a few more COVID-related updates:

  • Backup point guard Dennis Smith Jr. and two-way rookie Trendon Watford have entered the protocols for the Trail Blazers and the rest of the team will now be re-tested, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter). DSJ and Watford are the only players currently in the protocols for the Blazers.
  • The Celtics have four new players entering the protocols: C.J. Miles, Justin Jackson, Aaron Nesmith, and Bruno Fernando, tweets Jared Weiss of The Athletic. However, Al Horford, Juan Hernangomez, Jabari Parker, and Brodric Thomas, who’ve all been in the protocols, are listed as questionable for Saturday’s game against Milwaukee, so they could be exiting the protocols soon. Until those four are cleared, the Celtics will have 12 players in the COVID-19 protocols — the largest outbreak in the NBA.
  • In addition to Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bobby Portis has exited the protocols for the Bucks, Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press tweets. Like Horford and the other Celtics, Donte DiVincenzo, who’s also been in the protocols, is listed as questionable to make his season debut Saturday.
  • Meanwhile, Bruce Brown and James Johnson have exited the protocols for the Nets, but seven others, including star Kevin Durant, remain in the protocols for their game Saturday against the Lakers, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter).
  • Warriors rookie Moses Moody has entered the protocols, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link). Golden State now has four players in the protocols.

Trail Blazers Sign Trendon Watford To Two-Way Contract

AUGUST 3: The Blazers have officially signed Watford to a two-way contract, the team announced in a press release.


JULY 30: The Trail Blazers are expected to add undrafted second-year LSU power forward Trendon Watford on a two-way contract, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (via Twitter).

Watford is listed as the 10th-best undrafted rookie prospect on ESPN. The 6’9″ Birmingham, Alabama native was honored as a 2021 All-SEC Tourney selection and a 2020/21 All-SEC First Teamer.

Playing alongside guard Cameron Thomas (who was drafted with the No. 27 pick by the Nets on Thursday), the 20-year-old forward averaged 16.3 PPG, 7.4 RPG, 2.9 APG, and 1.1 SPG, on .480/.316/.651 shooting, in 28 games during his sophomore season in 2020/21.

An athletic rim-roller with a competitive inside floater, Watford could be an interesting addition in Portland.

Full List Of 2021 NBA Draft Combine Participants

The NBA has revealed via press release its list of 69 players who have been invited to next week’s draft combine in Chicago and who are expected to attend. The combine will take place from June 21-27.

While several of the prominent names at the top of the draft will opt to skip the event – most notably, presumed number one pick Cade Cunningham and Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs – there are several high-profile prospects set to attend. Evan Mobley, widely considered a likely choice for the No. 2 pick as well as potential top-five picks Jonathan Kuminga and Jalen Green headline the class of participants this year, along with potential lottery picks Moses Moody, Corey Kispert and Scottie Barnes.

According to the press release, players will conduct interviews with NBA teams, participate in five-on-five games, and go through shooting, strength and agility drills throughout the week-long event. It’s likely that the more high-profile names will focus more on the interviews than the drills.

The press release also confirms that a select number of standout players from the G League Elite Camp will be invited to participate in the Combine as well.

Here’s the full list of 69 names announced by the NBA today, in alphabetical order:

  1. Max Abmas, G, Oral Roberts (sophomore)
  2. Ochai Agbaji, G, Kansas (junior)
  3. Marcus Bagley, F, Arizona State (freshman)
  4. Scottie Barnes, F, Florida State (freshman)
  5. Charles Bassey, C, Western Kentucky (junior)
  6. Brandon Boston Jr., G/F, Kentucky (freshman)
  7. James Bouknight, G, UConn (sophomore)
  8. Greg Brown, F, Texas (freshman)
  9. Jared Butler, G, Baylor (junior)
  10. Julian Champagnie, G/F, St. John’s (sophomore)
  11. Justin Champagnie, G/F, Pittsburgh (sophomore)
  12. Josh Christopher, G, Arizona State (freshman)
  13. Sharife Cooper, G, Auburn (freshman)
  14. Ayo Dosunmu, G, Illinois (junior)
  15. David Duke, G, Providence (junior)
  16. Kessler Edwards, F, Pepperdine (junior)
  17. Luka Garza, C, Iowa (senior)
  18. RaiQuan Gray, F, Florida State (junior)
  19. Jalen Green, G, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  20. Quentin Grimes, G, Houston (junior)
  21. Sam Hauser, F, Virginia (senior)
  22. Aaron Henry, G/F, Michigan State (junior)
  23. Ariel Hukporti, C, Lithuania (born 2002)
  24. Matthew Hurt, F, Duke (sophomore)
  25. Nah’Shon Hyland, G, VCU (sophomore)
  26. Isaiah Jackson, F, Kentucky (freshman)
  27. David Johnson, G, Louisville (sophomore)
  28. Jalen Johnson, F, Duke (freshman)
  29. Keon Johnson, G, Tennessee (freshman)
  30. Herb Jones, F, Alabama (senior)
  31. Kai Jones, F, Texas (sophomore)
  32. Johnny Juzang, G/F, UCLA (sophomore)
  33. Corey Kispert, F, Gonzaga (senior)
  34. Jonathan Kuminga, F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  35. Scottie Lewis, G, Florida (sophomore)
  36. Isaiah Livers, F, Michigan (senior)
  37. Makur Maker, C, Howard (freshman)
  38. Sandro Mamukelashvili, F/C, Seton Hall (senior)
  39. Tre Mann, G, Florida (sophomore)
  40. Matthew Mayer, G/F, Baylor (junior)
  41. Miles McBride, G, West Virginia (sophomore)
  42. Davion Mitchell, G, Baylor (junior)
  43. Evan Mobley, F/C, USC (freshman)
  44. Isaiah Mobley, F, USC (sophomore)
  45. Moses Moody, G, Arkansas (freshman)
  46. Trey Murphy III, G, Virginia (junior)
  47. Daishen Nix, G, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  48. John Petty Jr., G, Alabama (senior)
  49. Yves Pons, G/F, Tennessee (senior)
  50. Jason Preston, G, Ohio (junior)
  51. Joshua Primo, G, Alabama (freshman)
  52. Roko Prkacin, F, Croatia (born 2002)
  53. Neemias Queta, C, Utah State (junior)
  54. Austin Reaves, G, Oklahoma (senior)
  55. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, F, Villanova (sophomore)
  56. Terrence Shannon Jr., G/F, Texas Tech (sophomore)
  57. Day’Ron Sharpe, F/C, North Carolina (freshman)
  58. Jericho Sims, F/C, Texas (senior)
  59. Jaden Springer, G, Tennessee (freshman)
  60. DJ Steward, G, Duke (freshman)
  61. Cameron Thomas, G, LSU (freshman)
  62. JT Thor, F, Auburn (freshman)
  63. Isaiah Todd, F, G League Ignite (auto-eligible)
  64. Trendon Watford, F, LSU (sophomore)
  65. Joe Wieskamp, G/F, Iowa (junior)
  66. Ziaire Williams, F, Stanford (freshman)
  67. McKinley Wright IV, G, Colorado (senior)
  68. Moses Wright, F, Georgia Tech (senior)
  69. Marcus Zegarowski, G, Creighton (junior)

Draft Updates: Shannon, Smart, Watford, More

Texas Tech sophomore wing Terrence Shannon Jr. will test the draft waters, declaring for the 2021 NBA draft while retaining his college eligibility, he announced today (via Twitter).

Shannon, who started 13 of his 28 games for the Red Raiders in 2020/21, averaged 12.9 PPG and 4.0 RPG on .448/.357/.756 shooting in 26.7 minutes per contest.

While those numbers don’t jump off the page, Shannon is a highly-regarded prospect who is a strong candidate to be drafted. He ranks 33rd overall on ESPN’s list of this year’s top 100 prospects and comes in at No. 37 on Jonathan Wasserman’s big board at Bleacher Report.

Here are a few more updates on the 2021 draft:

  • After testing the draft waters in both 2019 and 2020, LSU guard Javonte Smart will once again declare in 2021 and will go pro this time, he announced on Instagram. As a junior this season, Smart averaged 16.0 PPG and 4.0 APG on .460/.402/.857 shooting in 28 games (35.6 MPG).
  • Smart’s LSU teammate, sophomore forward Trendon Watford, is also entering the draft and intends to hire an agent, he announced on Twitter. Watford, who averaged 16.3 PPG and 7.4 RPG in 28 games (34.6 MPG) for the Tigers, is the No. 55 prospect on ESPN’s big board.
  • Florida State junior guard Sardaar Calhoun is testing the draft waters, he announced on Twitter. He saw limited action in 2020/21, averaging 5.3 PPG in 14.2 minutes per game (25 games), though he did hit 39.7% of his three-point attempts.
  • Keve Aluma, a redshirt junior forward at Virginia Tech, will enter the draft while retaining his college eligibility, he stated on Twitter. Aluma put up 15.2 PPG, 7.9 RPG, 2.2 APG, and 1.3 BPG in 22 games (30.6 MPG) in ’20/21.
  • Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz of ESPN (Insider link) share their latest 2021 mock draft, which features Baylor’s Davion Mitchell moving all the way up to No. 7. Mitchell and Gonzaga’s Jalen Suggs were among the players whose stocks increased the most as a result of the NCAA tournament.

And-Ones: Draft, Robinson, NBA Foundation, Bubbles

There was some surprise around the NBA that so many college early entrants decided to withdraw from the 2020 draft before Monday’s deadline, according to Jeremy Woo of SI.com. As Woo observes, the 2021 draft class is widely viewed as stronger than 2020’s, and the ’20/21 college season remains somewhat in flux, given the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Still, Woo acknowledges that the stability of returning to a college program was likely appealing for many of those prospects who withdrew, especially since we also don’t yet know what the NBA and G League schedules will look like for ’20/21.

Elsewhere on the draft front, Jonathan Givony of ESPN (Insider link) has updated his 2021 mock draft to account for recent early entrant decisions. Prospects such as Corey Kispert (Gonzaga), Isaiah Joe (Arkansas), Trendon Watford (LSU), and Luka Garza (Iowa), who recently pulled out of the 2020 draft pool, now show up in the second round of Givony’s mock for next year.

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Former No. 5 overall pick Thomas Robinson has parted ways with Khimki Moscow, his team in Russia, as Ennio Terrasi Borghesan of Sportando relays. Robinson appeared in 313 games for six NBA teams after being drafted in 2012, but hasn’t been on an NBA roster since being cut by Atlanta before the 2018/19 season.
  • The NBA announced today that its Board of Governors – in partnership with the NBPA – will contribute $300MM over the next 10 years to a new, league-wide charitable foundation called the NBA Foundation, which is “dedicated to creating greater economic empowerment in the Black community.”
  • Jason Lloyd of The Athletic takes an interesting look at what the “bubble” sports leagues are getting right and what lessons can be learned from the experiments, which have been a success so far.