NBA

Brandon Roy's return to the NBA would cost the Trail Blazers 17 million

Brandon Roy's return to the NBA would cost the Trail Blazers 17 million

By DWIGHT JAYNES (@dwightjaynes)

Former Trail Blazer all-star Brandon Roy has already announced that he's going to sign a contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves, whom he chose over at least four other teams negotiating for his services after the Trail Blazers used the amnesty clause on him last season.

Roy still hasn't signed and right now, there is a question about Minnesota's cap room to sign him.

But if it turns out that Roy plays again in the NBA -- for anybody -- it's going to be very costly for his former team, which still must pay Roy his full previous contract. Without benefit of even partial insurance.

When the Trail Blazers gave Roy his max deal, they were apparently able to insure only a fraction of it because of the condition of his knees. But, sources say, they were able to get a limited amount of permanent disability insurance on him that would cover 17 million of the amount owed the player.

As long as he was "permanently" disabled.

If and when Roy plays again, Portland apparently will not be able to collect that 17 million, none of which has been paid to date.

Yes, Paul Allen is a billionaire. But I would guess even Allen would not be happy about losing 17 million.

Kings lose De'Aaron Fox to ankle sprain, OUT vs. Trail Blazers

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IMAGN

Kings lose De'Aaron Fox to ankle sprain, OUT vs. Trail Blazers

When the Sacramento Kings suit up against the Portland Trail Blazers Tuesday night at Golden 1 Center, they will be without their starting point guard De'Aaron Fox. 

An MRI conducted Monday afternoon confirmed that Fox sustained a left ankle sprain at the end of practice on Monday. According to Jason Jones of The Athletic, it is a Grade 3 sprain.

The Kings announced he will be re-evaluated in 3-4 weeks. 

Entering his third year in the NBA, Fox has accrued averages of 18.2 points, 4 rebounds, 7 assists, and 0.8 steals in nine games this season.

The Kings are winners of three of their last four games, and had an offensive rating of 118.4, which led the NBA during that stretch. 

With Fox out of the lineup, the Kings will look to Cory Joseph and Yogi Ferrell to handle the load of ball-handling responsibilities. 

The Kings will also be without second-year forward Marvin Bagley III, who sustained a broken thumb during the Kings’ season opener back on October 23rd. 

Seahawks in action vs. 49ers, follow us for live updates

Seahawks in action vs. 49ers, follow us for live updates

It took overtime, but the Seahawks pulled off the 40-34 victory over the Buccaneers last week to improve to 7-2.

Now the Seahawks face one of their biggest tests of the season: The undefeated San Francisco 49ers.

Can the Seahawks pull off the upset and stay in the NFC West hunt, or will the 49ers improve to 9-0?

Be sure to follow our Seahawks Insider Joe Fan on Twitter, for updates and analysis throughout the game from San Francisco

Then come back here to NBC Sports Northwest after the game for analysis, blogs, videos, and player interviews.

More Seahawks: 

Headstrong: How Russell Wilson relies on his family, positive self-talk and mental health 

Week 10 preview: 5 Seahawks players to watch vs. 49ers 

Seahawks, 49ers debate over the ability to acknowledge rivalries in the NFL 

Josh Gordon already making a positive impact on DK Metcalf with Seahawks

Talkin’ Seahawks Podcast: How Seattle's 'us against the world' mentality could put them in the driver's seat

Mario Cristobal’s ear catching comments on expanding Mykael Wright’s role

Mario Cristobal’s ear catching comments on expanding Mykael Wright’s role

Oregon true freshman Mykael Wright has earned the nickname “silent assassin” from his teammates. His quiet demeanor, number two jersey and superstar type skills draw the comparison to NBA star Kawhi Leonard. The cornerback lived up to that label in the No. 7 Ducks’ win over USC when he killed USC's momentum and returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown with 20 seconds remaining in the first half.

The speedy freshman had only regularly began working as a kick returner earlier that week. However, Oregon coach Mario Cristobal was not shocked when Wright completely transformed the energy of the game. The top-ranked cornerback in the nation (ESPN, 2019) returned punts in high school and provided tape highlights, which Cristobal often refers to. Cristobal instantly noticed Wright’s natural instincts as a returner.

“Naturally, when the ball is in the air, he knows how to get to it,” Cristobal said. "He knows how to handle receivers and handle guys who show late hands. When he’s had the ball in his hands in practice when he gets a pick or something of that nature, he just has a natural feel for following his blockers or setting up his blocks.”

His versatility has provided a solid foundation and a major strength for Oregon. During his two seasons at Valencia high school in California, Wright had nine interceptions and 25 tackles on defense. On offense, he picked up 1,986 receiving yards in addition to 26 touchdowns.

Entering this season, junior starting cornerback Thomas Graham Jr. tabbed Wright as a future freshman All-American. Now, Cristobal is game planning an increased role for Wright.

“Without question, he’s an electrifying player back there,” Cristobal said. “I think the more he does it, the better and better he’ll get. We don’t want to extend him too much because he’s got a lot going on with special teams and playing corner for us, but his role on teams is going to expand.”

The natural playmaker’s next opportunity will come this Saturday night, as Oregon looks to beat Arizona to officially punch its ticket to the Pac-12 Conference title game.

Zach Collins back at Blazer practice... the latest post-surgery update

Zach Collins back at Blazer practice... the latest post-surgery update

When the door opened for the media to enter the gym at the Trail Blazer practice facility Monday, there was a surprise spectator watching practice on a sideline bench.

Zach Collins, fresh off his surgery last week to repair damage in his left labrum, was back.

He said he is feeling better and, as expected, his left arm was in a sling.

“They said I could probably take (the sling) off when I’m home, hopefully next week,” Collins said. “But if I’m out in public, I still have to wear it. The worst part is when I sleep. I always sleep on my side and for some reason, at night all that pain comes back. The last couple of nights were a lot better. I’ve been almost pain free.

“But when I sleep I have to have everything right,” he said. “Quiet and dark. I’ve been waking up about every hour.”

And for right now, the up-to-the-minute update on Collins’ condition is simply:

He’s working on sleeping on his back.

Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum lead NBA in minutes played -- is that sustainable?

Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum lead NBA in minutes played -- is that sustainable?

Interesting to look at the top of the NBA leaderboard for minutes played today and find the Trail Blazer backcourt sitting at No. 1 and No. 2.

Damian Lillard is averaging 38.6 minutes per game and CJ McCollum is playing 37.7 – higher than anyone else in the league.

Is everybody happy with that? Are there concerns in this era of load management?

“I’m a little bit old-school,” Coach Terry Stotts said. “There is going to be somebody to lead the league in minutes played. But if we hadn’t gone to overtime (Sunday night), Dame would have been at 39 minutes. To me, two guys in their prime can average 38 minutes and be fine. We did a study on how many players over the years averaged 40 minutes a game – Wilt Chamberlain averaged at least 40 minutes a game every year of his career and 48.5 one year. To me, it’s about managing his minutes,” Stotts said. “I’m very aware of Dame’s minutes. He only played 15-something in the first half last night. I like his minutes to be relatively low in case we need to extend his minutes in the second half. To me, managing his minutes – we do that in the course of the game. Today he took the day off.  So, he’s kind of built for it.”

Neither player showed any outward concern about the length of his playing time in games.

“There’s going to come a point where everyone is going to wear down and get tired,” said Lillard, who played in all 82 games and averaged the same 38.6 minutes he’s clocking this season as a rookie and has averaged 36.3 per game through his career. “It turns into a mental thing at that point.”

Can he sustain that load?

“Yes,” he said.

McCollum, annually one of the players who runs the longest distance on the court during a season, believes he and Lillard can sustain those minutes over the long haul.

“Absolutely,” he said. “We take great care of our bodies. We know how to get our rest. It’s a long season but we don’t really have a lot of room for error right now. What’s our record? We have to take care of our bodies, be in shape and sustain a certain accountability to play. It’s a part of the game. This is what I do. I play basketball. My job is to be available. Obviously, we all battle little injuries here and there but it’s your job to take care of it and if you’re able to play, you play. That’s how I was trained.”

For these guys, load management is not a familiar concept.

Three notable changes to Oregon’s depth chart ahead of Arizona

Three notable changes to Oregon’s depth chart ahead of Arizona

No. 7 Oregon has the opportunity to clinch its third Pac-12 North Division title and a spot in the Pac-12 Championship with a win over Arizona (4-5, 2-4 Pac-12) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Autzen Stadium.

Oregon (8-1, 6-0 Pac-12) will look to avenge last season’s loss at Arizona and extend this season’s undefeated streak in conference play and at home (5-0).

Oregon coach Mario Cristobal released the depth chart ahead of the game and there are three notable changes:

1. Graduate-transfer Juwan Johnson is co-starter with redshirt freshman Bryan Addison at “Z” wide receiver position. Expect an increased role for Johnson after back-to-back clutch performances.

“Coming off some injuries, Juwan is a guy that I knew would step up big,” quarterback Justin Herbert said after Oregon’s win at USC. “I don’t think the public has seen his best yet. We knew all along he would be a special player.”

2. At tight end, true freshman Patrick Herbert is listed as co-backup (with Spencer Webb) to senior Ryan Bay. Patrick Herbert has played in two games this season but has yet to catch a pass.

3. Junior Brady Breeze will start at boundary safety. Junior Nick Pickett was called for targeting in the second half against USC and will be out for the first half against Arizona. Regardless of Pickett's status, Breeze "has certainly earned the right to be on the field more," Cristobal said.

MORE ON THE DUCKS

“It won’t be tolerated here” Mario Cristobal is handling Oregon’s uncharacteristic penalty problem

Oregonian Brady Breeze earning title as a momentum changer

Mario Cristobal calls his mom directly after every game: 10 things you don't know about the Oregon coach

Headstrong: How Russell Wilson relies on his family, positive self-talk and mental health

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USATI

Headstrong: How Russell Wilson relies on his family, positive self-talk and mental health

Over the course of the month of November, NBC Sports will be releasing videos that feature various sports superstars discussing the importance of mental health as well as how they approach the subject.

NBC Sports will then release a documentary titled “Headstrong” in conjunction with men’s health month. Among the athletes who participated in the nationwide project was Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson.

Wilson has long been an advocate for mental health, and he speaks to his mental health coach Trevor Moawad on a daily basis. He said he established an appreciation for creating a positive mindset at a young age.

“I think the mind is everything,” Wilson said. “My parents used to talk to me about how we think and how we talk and the power of language is everything. Really it’s the core of what mental health is.”

Wilson’s parents encouraged him to have an imagination and believe in himself. They taught him that speaking things into existence would allow him to be successful and make the most out of his potential.

Seattle’s 5-foot-11 franchise quarterback faced several challenges as a kid. His family didn’t have much financially, and, even then, he was told he was too short to ever be an athlete of any significance. There was never a shortage of people telling him no.

“I’m thankful for my parents giving me a vision – for giving me positive language and giving me language of life and not negativity,” Wilson said.

Wilson is famous for his optimism, and that outlook is contagious throughout the Seahawks roster. Every word out of his mouth during a game – no matter if the Seahawks are up by seven or down by 20 – is positive. It’s part of the reason why Seattle has become notorious for late-game comebacks with Wilson at the helm.

But even though the QB appears to be a master on the topic of mental health, it’s still something he works at on a daily basis.

“You don’t have to be sick to get better,” Wilson said. "No matter how successful you are or what status you are – a top quarterback or if you’re trying to overcome cancer – the best thing that we can do is have positive language.”

Neutral language is also just as important as having a positive mindset. The Idea of neutrality means to have the ability to assess your situation – good or bad – without letting it impact you positively or negatively. That allows you to best understand the necessary course of action without being influenced by emotion.

Wilson said that losing his father was the event that challenged him the most from a mental standpoint. His father was sick and his passing wasn’t a surprise, but that didn’t make the situation any less devastating.

Wilson shared that he feels his dad with him every place he goes. It’s the quarterback’s devout faith that helped him not only get through the loss of his father, but grow and thrive from it.

“The sun still comes up in the morning,” Wilson said. “That’s the reality. If we can have that great perspective that the sun is still going to come up, and we can believe in that and have great faith and have great people to surround you and love you and care for you – that’s critical to life.”

Wilson is currently having an MVP-caliber season having led Seattle to a 7-2 record through nine games. He’s the only quarterback in NFL history to have 22 touchdown passes and just one interception at any point in a season.

For more on NBC’s headstrong initiative, head to our Headstrong website.

Damian Lillard's most meaningful jersey swap

Damian Lillard's most meaningful jersey swap

Damian Lillard is no stranger to jersey swaps.

We've seen them before: Postgame jersey swaps show appreciation for a player's long career, for family, collegiate ties. They're symbolic. But, Damian Lillard's jersey swap on Sunday night at the Moda Center after the Trail Blazers overtime win over the Hawks was the possibly the most meaningful one. 

As fans were filing out of the arena, Lillard walked across the court and pulled the jersey off his back. There, he met U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Michael Ramage, who spent three tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan. 

"He DM'd me on Instagram one day, and it just happened to catch my attention," Lillard told NBCSNW postgame. "I agreed to it."

Jersey swaps are sacred. They're held in great honor. A sign of respect. Lillard last swapped jerseys with Dwyane Wade during his farewell season. So, this one, which occurred on Military Appreciation Night, the day before Veterans Day... 

"It was fitting."

Evan Turner on the Trail Blazers: 'Dame always figures it out'

Evan Turner on the Trail Blazers: 'Dame always figures it out'

If anyone understands what it’s like to have a rocky adjustment with the Trail Blazers it’s Evan Turner, the now Atlanta Hawks wing, who spent the past three seasons going through his own ups and downs in Portland.

Turner, who sat out on Sunday with an Achilles injury, said he has watched the Blazers a “decent amount” in the early stages of the season and while he understands that fans might be panicking about a less than ideal start to the year, he doesn’t think it’s warranted.

“It’s literally not anything to fret over,” he said.

The Blazers started 12-14 in Turner’s first season in Portland in 2016-17 and opened the following season at 6-6 before surging to the third seed in the Western Conference playoffs. So when Turner saw this iteration of Blazers struggle out of the gates, it didn’t raise much concern.

“It’s a lot of new guys in the locker room,” Turner said. “So they’re adjusting to how you do things. The core, the focal point are the two guards so you have to really get acclimated and find your way around how you can make an impact the best way you can.”

Turner isn’t one to insincerely butter up his former team. He is refreshingly honest, the type of player who will tell reporters the truth to a fault. If he thought this team was bad, it would be in the headline. Instead he insisted this team will be fine. So what is inspiring Turner about the Blazers who needed an overtime win Sunday to run their record to 4-6 on the season?

Chiefly it’s Anfernee Simons, the 20-year-old guard who scored 20 points against the Hawks, and is averaging just shy of twelve points a game in his second season.

“I thought he was going to hit his stride like this eventually but I didn’t know it’d be this quick. It’s unreal. He will be very, very, very, very, very, very, very good,” Turner said, giving his seven-very seal of approval.

“I think the thing I’m noticing about him now is — his confidence wavered sometimes in and out. Like even in the summer he’d have those big games and stuff. He had like 35 and 10 (at summer league). Now the kid knows he’s got it, and you could see it on the court (Sunday) where he went off and Dame and CJ and the coaches were letting him rock out. I think it’s obvious.”

Turner and Simons developed a close bond last season and Turner was one of the first Blazer veterans to confidently proclaim that Simons was going to be an impact player in the NBA. But Turner’s Blazer optimism extends beyond his admiration for their promising youngster. He has seen enough Lillard, his good friend, up close to hit pause on the skepticism.

“If three games go a different way, they’re 7-3, and nobody’d be whining, right?," Turner said. "I think they’ll be fine. Dame always figures it out."

Sunday wasn’t a perfect game. The Blazer looked disjointed early and failed to put the Hawks away late, before narrowly avoiding a five-game losing streak in overtime. But to hear Turner tell it: the Blazers are in a good spot, even with the injuries, even with the new parts adjusting to a new system. But for fans still concerned over a 4-6 record and the obvious issues facing the roster, Turner points in one direction: Toward the team’s All-Star point guard.

“He just keeps getting better and better each year,” he said. “I think it’s still early on in the year and the dude is just going to keep being Dame Lillard. He’s going to keep getting better, and you think you’ve already seen the best he has and there’s more. He’s in his prime and he’s flourishing.”