Free Agency Roundup: Day 3

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
2 years ago

Welcome to Day 3 of NBA Free Agency 2014. The consensus seems to be that the league is in somewhat of a holding pattern until the big name free agents make their decisions, which isn’t great news for those executives hoping to enjoy some down time over the Fourth of July holiday.

While there are rules about what teams can and can’t say during the free agency moratorium, we are allowed to post what others media outlets are reporting. So here, without comment, is today’s roundup of the most recent news regarding the Trail Blazers and free agency …

Sources: Blazers Gauge Steve Blake’s Interest, Chris Haynes, CSNNW …

On Day 1 of free agency the Portland Trail Blazers inquired about the interest of veteran free agent point guard Steve Blake, league sources informed CSNNW.com.

These sources that requested anonymity describes the call to his representatives as merely a “feeler ” inquiry with sides expected to reengage down the road.

Blake, 34, is no stranger to the city of Portland. He played three and a half seasons with the team and loved his experience so much that he purchased a home in Portland where his family resides in the offseason. We’re told by one of the sources that Blake “would love to come back to Portland to play for the Trail Blazers.”

ESPN.com SportsNation Chat With Kevin Pelton

Ryan (The D)
Where does Monroe end up? Is it realistic to hope for sign and trade with Portland that sends Batum to Pistons?

Kevin Pelton
No. That wouldn’t fill a need for the Blazers, and would create one in the process.

kyle (portland)
what are some realistic options for the Blazers this off season? who should they be looking at?

Kevin Pelton
They seem to be focused on using their MLE on a stretch big man, which is a little disappointing for Thomas Robinson given how well he played late in the season, but understandable nonetheless. In that scenario, they probably bring back Mo Williams using his non-Bird Rights. If they don’t use the full MLE on a big, I’d encourage them to look at Bo McCalebb as a Williams replacement.

Nick (Boston)
How crazy is this idea: Heat sign and trade Bosh to Portland for Nic Batum and T-Rob. Then with remaining cap space, Heat sign Okafor. Remotely possible? Would PDX move Batum for Bosh?

Kevin Pelton
The Blazers aren’t trading Batum for a starter at a position where they already have a perfectly good starter in Robin Lopez.

Geoff (PDX)
who would Portland trade Batum for?

Kevin Pelton
Well, if someone wants to offer a younger/better small forward, the Blazers might listen. But a challenge trade is the only thing that really makes sense with Batum.

Dave (SLC)
Would you match a MAX offer for Hayward or try and work an S&T?

Kevin Pelton
I would probably match it. I feel similar to this about Nicolas Batum and Minnesota, when lots of intelligent people felt the Blazers should sign-and-trade him for Derrick Williams, a move that would not have worked well. At some point, you’ve got to keep quality young starters.

Short-term deal may be best option for Greg Monroe, Detroit Pistons, Vince Ellis, Detroit Free Press …

In numerous conversations with league executives, scouts and agents over the past two years, not one considered Monroe a max player.

Let’s look at the reported suitors: Portland, Washington, Orlando, New Orleans, Atlanta, Cleveland and the Lakers.

It’s hard to see the Wizards’ interest when they will retain center Marcin Gortat.

Monroe’s camp was working on a deal with the Blazers as agent David Falk was trying to get something in place quickly. The Blazers have reportedly met with free-agent center Spencer Hawes.

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Podcast: Leonard Talks Offseason, Free Agency On The Rip City Report

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
14 hours ago

Greetings fans of NBA offseason news. With the 2106 Draft now completed and the free agent moratorium less than 48 away, Joe Freeman, he of The Oregonian/OregonLive.com, and I, Casey Holdahl of ForwardCenter.net/TrailBlazers.com, hit the Moda Center studio to record yet another edition of the Rip City Report podcast, which you can listen to below…

This week, Trail Blazers power forward Meyers Leonard joins the show to discuss his travels around Oregon this offseason, rehabbing from the shoulder surgery that prematurely ended his 2015-16 season, “sprint mechanics” and his upcoming restricted free agency. As for the rest of the show, we briefly recap Portland’s draft night, which netted the team Maryland forward Jake Layman, discuss what we know about the negotiations regarding the team’s television rights and discuss the unpredictability that is free agency.

You can find the Rip City Report on SoundcloudiTunes and Stitcher. And consider ending the month by throwing a review on the iTunes.

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Trail Blazers Make Big Jump In ESPN’s Future Power Rankings

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
4 weeks ago

There’s no better time to ponder the future of an NBA team than the period of the offseason before the draft and free agency. There are nothing but possibilities. Every free agent is a potential target who could change the direction of a franchise, every draft pick a presumptive superstar in the making who could eventually lead your team to glory.

Of course, the Trail Blazers don’t have a draft pick this year and attracting big-name free agents to Portland has always been a challenge, but when you’re the third-youngest team in the NBA, the future isn’t primarily defined by potential additions. And that’s especially true for a team coming off a 44-win season and their second playoff series victory in the last 16 years. While signing a all-star caliber free agent or obtaining a pick in the 2016 Draft would certainly help going forward, Portland’s fortunes are dependent on variables such as Allen Crabbe stepping into a bigger role, Al-Farouq Aminu building on a career season, CJ McCollum making the jump from very good to great and Damian Lillard becoming to bona fide Top 10 player in the league.

So while it never hurts to be optimistic about the opportunity for adding new talent, the Trail Blazers already have a strong footing going forward after rebuilding their roster just under a year ago during the 2015 offseason. That’s probably the main reason Portland jumped 10 spots to No. 8 in ESPN’s most recent Future Power Rankings. Here’s what ESPN Insider Kevin Pelton had to say about the ranking…

While we were relatively optimistic about the Trail Blazers in September, they’ve still tied for the largest jump since then. Portland moved back into the top 10 after not only defying expectations by making the playoffs but winning a series (albeit aided by the Clippers’ injuries) and competing with the Warriors in the second round.

Now, the Blazers have the opportunity to clear max space while retaining their young core, led by the dynamic backcourt of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. That’s possible because GM Neil Olshey locked up young free agents Al-Farouq Aminu and Ed Davis to contracts that look like enormous bargains.

To threaten the West’s upper crust, Portland still must hold off younger teams rising out of the lottery. But a strong management team of Olshey and newly extended coach of the year runner-up Terry Stotts gives reason to believe in the Blazers.

Portland’s best rankings come in management (5th) and players (9th) while their worst score comes in money (19th), which is somewhat ironic considering one of the wealthiest people in the world owns the team, though this ranking is surely more reflective of their salary cap situation than an unwillingness to spend.

The Northwest Division does well in the future rankings, with the Utah Jazz just ahead of the Trail Blazers at No. 7 and the Minnesota Timberwolves just behind at No. 9.

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Podcast: Rip City Report, End Of Season Edition

Casey Holdahl
by Casey Holdahl
2 months ago

A happy Friday the 13th to all of you loyal podcast listeners. Before everyone goes their separate ways now that the offseason is here, Joe Freeman, he of The Oregonian/OregonLive.com, and I, Casey Holdahl of ForwardCenter.net and TrailBlazers.com, hit the Moda Center studio one last time to record a season-ending edition of the Rip City Report podcast, which you can listen to below…

On this edition, we attempt recap the series versus the Warriors, which ended in five games with a 125-121 loss at Oracle Arena Wednesday night, and the season in general, discuss the lasting effects of the playoff run and the respect that they earned from around the league due to their performance and look forward to some of the questions the Blazers will have to answer in the offseason, particularly in regard to free agency. And as always, we finish up by answering your Twitter-submitted questions on topics such as the culture the Trail Blazers have developed, (more) free agency, exit interviews and favorite moments from the just-completed season. It’s been a fun one.

You can find the Rip City Report on SoundcloudiTunes and Stitcher. Thanks to all of you who listened and left reviews this season.

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