NBA

Once again, Danny Ainge proves he's not afraid to bet big on his own judgment

Once again, Danny Ainge proves he's not afraid to bet big on his own judgment

A few thoughts about the blockbuster Cleveland-Boston trade:

  • One thing I've always admired about Danny Ainge: He's got a lot of guts. He always has. He's totally unafraid. And in pulling the trigger on a trade with the team he's trying to beat in the NBA East, he's taking a gamble. In trading his team's best and most popular player he's making an even bigger gamble. And in taking on Kyrie Irving, well, he might be taking the biggest gamble of all. But he doesn't really care what anyone else thinks, he does what he thinks is right. It's the same as the trade he pulled off prior to the draft with the No. 1 pick. He thought Jayson Tatum was the best player in the draft and knew he didn't have to take him with the first pick, so he moved the pick. And he really didn't care what anybody else thought of the deal. The guy has had plenty of self-confidence and courage since the day he started playing basketball. I remember watching him as a high-school junior in the Oregon state basketball tournament and on the football field and marveling at how he laughed in the face of pressure. He seemed totally immune to it and probably still is.
  • In today's world, people running franchises who are willing to make a big gamble or controversial move without worrying about what fans or media will think about it are rare -- and usually worth their weight in gold.
  • Ainge has put a big burden on his coach, Brad Stevens. As well he should -- Stevens is one of the best in the business. But I think Stevens will need to be at the top of his game to find the kind of team chemistry the Celtics had last season. Irving, I've heard, is pretty tough to handle -- for his teammates and his coaches. Getting him to play the team game and keeping him out of calling his own number all the time might be a problem.
  • This deal has long-term ramifications that should not be ignored. Irving is four years younger than Thomas (who is dealing with a hip injury) and in better health. Most people in the league believe LeBron James is headed out of Cleveland after this season and Boston has positioned itself to be the next big thing in the East. Thomas has one year left on his contract and Irving has two years and a player option for a third. Ainge is making a move that's possibly good for this season but definitely good for the seasons after that.
  • Thomas is 5-9 and often listed at 185 pounds. He doesn't look as if he's within 20 pounds of that number, however. Irving is 6-3 and 193. Players as small as Thomas have a pretty rough ride in the NBA -- and I'm not so sure how long he can keep that slight frame healthy enough to carry the heavy load he carried last season. I certainly wouldn't invest in that body with a long-term max deal.
  • Kevin Love and Thomas played on the same AAU team in high school and I'm sure they will play well together. Cleveland will be OK next season if Thomas stays healthy. Of course, behind him is Derrick Rose, another player whose continued good health is no sure thing.
  • I don't know what to think of Irving and his desire to get away from James. But I have a feeling that PLAYING with LeBron is OK, it's just existing with him that's a problem. You hear stories about the entourage, about LeBron basically running the whole organization -- stuff that can't be easy on teammates.
  • The Celtics have reshaped their team coming off what was a very good season. That takes guts. But that's Danny Ainge.

 

Kevin Love Fund launches to help raise awareness for mental health

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USA Today

Kevin Love Fund launches to help raise awareness for mental health

NBA star and Portland native Kevin Love is starting a foundation to raise awareness about mental health issues.

Love took his battle with mental health public last season following a panic attack during a game against the Atlanta Hawks. Now, he is using his own experience to help those who are also struggling with mental health issues. 

Love was on The Today Show on Tuesday to talk about his new foundation. 

He also made a stop by the set of The Daily Show with Trevor Noah this week, where the two talked about Love's battle with mental health and his new business venture with Banana Repuclic. You can watch the entire interview below.

Russell Westbrook could miss season opener following arthroscopic knee surgery

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usa today

Russell Westbrook could miss season opener following arthroscopic knee surgery

According to Royce Young of ESPN, Thunder star Russell Westbrook underwent arthroscopic knee surgery on Wednesday and could miss Oklahoma's season opener against the Golden State. 

Westbrook felt stiffness in the knee last week and opted for the surgery, described as "maintenance," as a preemptive measure. Although the injury may seem minor, Thunder fans are still holding their breath as this is the fourth surgery Westbrook has had on his right knee. He tore his meniscus in the 2013 postseason and over the next eight months had three surgeries on the knee. 

The Thunder play their first game against the Trail Blazers on January 4. 

LaMarcus Aldridge has high praise for Manu Ginobili

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nbcsnw

LaMarcus Aldridge has high praise for Manu Ginobili

NBA Twitter showed its appreciation for Manu Ginobili after the Spurs legend decided to call it a career, retiring after 16 years in the NBA. Not only did the fans show love, but so did current and former NBA players. One of those players was Ginobili's teammate in San Antonio, former Trail Blazers star LaMarcus Aldridge.

Wait, what does "you were even successful in getting me to participate in more team activities than I have in my entire career" mean? Did Aldridge throw a little shade at the Trail Blazers? Probably not. He's obviously just praising Ginobili, but still, one has to wonder...

31 Greatest NCAAF Players in PNW history: No.17 - Hugh McElhenny

31 Greatest NCAAF Players in PNW history: No.17 - Hugh McElhenny

“The King” of Seattle long before Felix Hernandez showed up in town, Hugh McElhenny was an unstoppable force on the football field. McElhenny was the Washington Huskies star running back from 1949-1951, rushing for 2, 499 yards for his career.

His career was full of highlights - McElhenny had an incredible game against the Washington State Cougars to end the 1950 season when he rushed for 296 yards and five touchdowns. The next season he did the unthinkable against USC, returning a punt 100-yards for a touchdown.

McElhenny was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the first round of the 1951 NFL Draft. He spent 13 seasons in the NFL, nine of them with the 49ers. When his football career finally came to an end, McElhenny had quite the list of accomplishments:

  • Two-time First-Team All-Pacific Coast
  • First-team All-American in 1951
  • Six-time NFL Pro Bowler
  • Five-time first-team NFL All-Pro
  • Elected to both the Pro Football and College Football Halls of Fame
  • Jersey retired by the 49ers.

Brian Grant and David Lucas join the Bridge

Brian Grant and David Lucas join the Bridge

Briant Grant, a man Trail Blazers fans know very well, joined Serena Winters on The Bridge on Thursday to talk about The Brian Grant Foundation. Joining him was David Lucas, son of former Blazers great Maurice Lucas, and the man behind the Maurice Lucas Foundation. The two have paired together on various levels to raise awareness of Parkinson's and to help the Portland community. 

They will be partnering together again on August 18 for a charity basketball game to benefit their foundations. Tickets can be purchased tickets here

Check out the video above to hear what the two had to say on The Bridge.

For more information on the Brian Grant Foundation visit BrianGrant.org

And for more information on the Maurice Lucas Foundation visit ML20.org

Who do you think will win the charity basketball game coming up on August 18 against the Maurice Lucas Foundation? Come to the game and find out! Get your $10 tickets at www.briangrant.org. Huge thanks to our title sponsors V&B Philanthropy and Dark Horse Comics. We couldn’t do it without you. 🎥 cred: Glyde Media

Posted by Brian Grant Foundation on Friday, July 27, 2018

Gary Payton opens up on Warriors, the NBA, and the greatness of Shawn Kemp

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USA Today

Gary Payton opens up on Warriors, the NBA, and the greatness of Shawn Kemp

Basketball Hall of Famer and former Oregon State Beaver great Gary Payton sat down with NBC Sports Warriors Insider Monte Poole on The Warriors Insider Podcast this week to talk all things basketball.

The man known as "The Glove" gave us his thoughts on the Kawhi Leonard - DeMar DeRozan trade, the state of the NBA, Boogie to the Bay, and his time with the Sonics. Payton also talked about former running mate Shawn Kemp, saying “if he woulda stayed with me he woulda been in the Hall of Fame right now too, easily.”

Take a listen.

NBA free agency: Big names still out there

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USA Today Img.

NBA free agency: Big names still out there

LeBron to Los Angeles, Vinsanity off to Atlanta, Kawhi to the North... who are some of the big names still available in NBA free agency?

Full list and descriptions written by Kurt Helin of NBC Sports found here.

1. Clint Capela (restricted): The Houston Rockets big man under the basket complimented the dynamic guard play of James Harden and Chris Paul. But rumors have it that he will reamin a Rocket next season, it is only a matter of money and time.

2. Rodney Hood (restricted): What started off as a promising year for the Utah Jazz turned into a struggling ending in Cleveland. 

3. Jamal Crawford: the 38-year-old veteran doesn't seem to show any quit in him. Does Crawford have what a young Blazers team needs? 

4. Greg Monroe: a compliment to Jusuf Nurkic down low, how dominant would these two be under the hoop? The 6' 11", 265-pound big man is a force down low.

5. Dwayne Wade: Wade can go in several different directions here. He can stay with Miami and sign an extension, play one more season and complete a fairwell tour, sign with another team, or head off overseas to China? So many possibilities. 

6. Trevor Booker: Played for the Brooklyn, Philadelphia, and Indiana last season. "...and it’s a bit of a surprise a team has not picked up a solid rotation player at the four or five. Most of his shots come within 10 feet of the bucket, but he is efficient on those."

7. Nick Young: Swaggy P brings just that... the swag as well as a decent three-point shot. With the world champion Golden State Warriors, he averaged 17 minutes and shot 41% from deep.

LINKS:

Read: As deadline passes, Trail Blazers don't use that trade exception -- surprised?

 

 

 

Report: Kevin Love signs contract extension with the Cavs

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USA Today

Report: Kevin Love signs contract extension with the Cavs

Oregon native Kevin Love has reportedly signed a 4-year, $120m extension with the Cleveland Cavaliers. The news was first reported by Adrian Wojnarowski and Brian Windhorst of ESPN.

Love’s contract was set to expire at the end of this season with a player option for 2019-2020. Now, the 29-year-old from Lake Oswego will be under contract with the Cavaliers until 2022-‘23.

Love’s future with the Cavaliers had been up in the air ever since LeBron James left Cleveland to sign with the Los Angeles Lakers. Love’s name was thrown around in trade rumors, he was linked to numerous teams including the Trail Blazers, and experts wondered if the Cavs would go full rebuild or just build around Love.

The answer is now clear: Cleveland is building a future with Kevin Love as its centerpiece. 

For his career Love holds averages of 18.3 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 2.3 assists per game.

 

 

 

NBCS Northwest has you covered for Blazers Summer League

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USA Today Images

NBCS Northwest has you covered for Blazers Summer League

2018 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas gets underway this weekend. The tournament runs from July 6th to July 17th, featuring rookies, young NBA players and, of course, free agents looking to prove they belong on a NBA roster.

Games will once again be held at Thomas & Mack Center and Cox Pavilion on the UNLV campus and, for the first time since Summer League debuted in 2004, all 30 NBA teams will be competing in Vegas.

Summer League features both a preliminary round where teams will play three games and then tournament play begins where teams are guaranteed at least two more games. The tournament comes to an end on July 17th with the championship game being played at Thomas & Mack Center.

Last season, the Trail Blazers reached the championship game, before losing to the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Blazers tip-off Summer League play on Saturday in Cox Pavilion at 12 p.m. when they take on the Utah Jazz.

Portland announced its official Summer League roster on Monday, which features center Zach Collins and rookies Anfernee Simons and Gary Trent Jr.

The Blazers had its first official SL practice on Tuesday.

 

 

NBC Sports Northwest will have full coverage throughout Summer League. You’ll get the latest interviews, postgame videos, and news at NBCSNorthwest.com. Plus, be sure to check out “The Bridge” with live interviews at 6pm weekdays on NBCS Northwest.

We will also have postgame coverage on “The Scoop” live stream with Chris Burkhardt and Jamie Hudson at Facebook.com/NBCSNorthwest.

Here’s the Trail Blazers pool play schedule:

Saturday 7/7 at Cox 12 p.m. – Portland vs. Utah
Sunday 7/8 at TM 2:30 p.m. – Portland vs. Boston
Tuesday 7/10 at Cox 1 p.m. – San Antonio vs. Portland

You can check out the full schedule for all teams at NBA.com.