2019 NBA Free Agency: A recap of everything Trail Blazers from Day 1

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2019 NBA Free Agency: A recap of everything Trail Blazers from Day 1

Day 1 of NBA free agency is officially in the books.

For the Portland Trail Blazers, Rodney Hood is back, Al-Farouq Aminu is gone, and there’s a new forward headed to the City of Roses, Mario Hezonja.

Here’s a quick recap of all things Trail Blazers from the first day of NBA free agency.

Before the clock struck 3:00 p.m. PT, the dominoes began to fall. One of the first moves the Blazers made was locking in All-Star guard, Damian Lillard, to a supermax contract deal.

And then things got real. The first news of free agency for Portland was involving Al-Farouq Aminu, who agreed to a three-year deal with Orlando reportedly worth $29 million.

The Trail Blazers did get a bit of good news-- Rodney Hood will stay in Rip City. Portland kept a key piece of its roster by retaining Hood, who reportedly agreed to a two-year deal with the Blazers.

Free agent forward Mario Hezonja is headed to Portland. The former No. 5 overall pick in 2015 agreed to a two-year minimum deal with the Trail Blazers. He started 24 games for the Knicks last season and averaged 8.8 points along with 4.3 rebounds.

Blazers insider Dwight Jaynes believes retaining Hood and the addition of Hezonja is “a big coup” for Portland GM Neil Olshey.

Here’s a look at how fans reacted to the re-signing of Hood and the addition of Hezonja on Twitter.

Several free agents, including Seth Curry and Enes Kanter, are still on the board as of Monday morning. We could be in for some more exciting moves as Day 2 of free agency gets underway.

Trail Blazers announce special ‘Bike with Bill Walton’ event set for late August

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Trail Blazers announce special ‘Bike with Bill Walton’ event set for late August

It’s time for Rip City to start celebrating.  

Earlier this month the Trail Blazers unveiled their new 50th Anniversary court that the team will playing on for all home games this season. The new design honors the 50th anniversary of the franchise and that’s just the beginning.

On Tuesday, the Blazers announced a special event called ‘Bike with Bill Walton’ that will have Blazers fans taking a trip down memory lane.

‘Bike with Bill Walton’ is a chance for fans to relive the 1977 Championship parade.

Join the Blazers on August 25th at 2 p.m. as fans bike from Veterans Memorial Coliseum to Terry Schrunk Plaza. At the end of the ride the Blazers will then have a special announcement.

[RELATED]: Blazers unveil special 50th anniversary court design

You can RSVP to the event on the Trail Blazers Facebook Page right here.

If the Blazers are ever for sale, Larry Ellison would probably be first in line

If the Blazers are ever for sale, Larry Ellison would probably be first in line

Barely a week goes by when I don’t get a call, email or text advising me of a rumor involving the possible or pending sale of the Portland Trail Blazers. And before we get any further, I will tell you that word from the franchise, from the top down, has repeatedly been that the team is not for sale and that deceased former owner Paul Allen’s sister, Jody Allen, is not interested in selling at this point.

I respect that.

But, I would offer that it probably wouldn’t be good business to advertise that the team is for sale. Such things create uncertainty among players and other employees that may not be conducive to a winning environment. Players, especially, are very much interested in a team's owner and particularly his commitment to winning and spending money to do so.

In fact, when Paul Allen bought the team from Larry Weinberg on May 31, 1988, it came as a complete surprise. Nobody had any idea the team was even on the market until Allen showed up for the news conference.

There is little doubt, if the franchise were to be put on the market, who would be the early odds-on favorite to buy it. That would be Larry Ellison, the co-founder of Oracle Corporation. Ellison has attempted to buy three NBA teams, the Golden State Warriors, New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies.

And if he bought the Blazers, he would become the richest owner in the NBA, surpassing the Clippers’ Steve Ballmer by about $15 billion. Ellison’s net worth has been estimated at $64.5 billion, which would make him the sixth-richest person in the world. He financed the winning sailboat in the 2010 America's Cup and actually crewed on that craft. He is also a licensed pilot who owns fighter jets.

He is said to own the sixth-largest yacht in the world and it has a basketball court on it. ESPN once described him as “the craziest human this side of Mark Cuban” and “Cuban to the fifth power.”

I'm not sure if that's good or bad.

Of course this is all just speculation. Ellison has attempted to buy teams previously and failed and nobody knows if the Trail Blazers will ever be placed on the market.

But if they are…

 

Kevin Love opens up to CJ McCollum on the latest Pull Up podcast

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Kevin Love opens up to CJ McCollum on the latest Pull Up podcast

Episode No. 71 of the ‘Pull Up Podcast with CJ McCollum’ addresses mental health and the crucial balance between an NBA player’s social life and work life.

On this latest podcast, McCollum and NBA analyst Jordan Schultz take a deep dive on the physical and mental aspects of NBA players’ lives.

This episode also has an extra special Portland connection.

Special guest 5x NBA All-Star and NBA Champion Kevin Love joins the discussion.

This is the first edition of a two part series. Love talks about each phase of his career and making sure he continues to taking care of himself.   

From his start at Lake Oswego High School, OR to winning a championship with Lebron James, this podcast takes you through Love’s journey of how he became the player he is today as he get sets to enter his 12th season in the league.

Love recently addressed how he has been battling mental health issues when he wrote about it in ‘The Players’ Tribune’ back in May.

Love and McCollum talk more about Love's mental health and depression issues on the podcast.  

“If you kill the body, the mind will die,” Love told McCollum.

 

“Working on what’s between the ears… I think that’s lost on so many guys and we play such a long drawn out season… You do have to find some sort of break,” Love continued.   

NBA fans appreciate Love and McCollum’s honesty and how the two opened up on this latest podcast.

Love also discussed what he does in the offseason to get his mind right. During the summer Love focuses on meditation as well as attending talk therapy sessions.

The podcast was a chance for Love to reminisce about growing up in Oregon, too.

“I grew up in Nike’s backyard… I’ve developed lifelong friendships from my backyard in Beaverton, Oregon,” Love said.

The soon to be 31-year-old also talked about being overweight earlier in his basketball career and how he’s worked to stay in shape.

Love’s work ethic has been inspiring other Trail Blazers this summer.  Blazers forward Mario Hezonja had to kick it up a notch with his personal workout. Or to be exact, he had to add five pounds.

LISTEN TO THE PULL UP PODCAST ON APPLE PODCAST HERE.

LISTEN ON SPOTIFY RIGHT HERE.

The NBA Rookies sure do love Damian Lillard

The NBA Rookies sure do love Damian Lillard

One thing is for sure here in the city of Portland - We love Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard. Well, we aren't the only ones, folks. It appears the newest batch of NBA rookies love him too. 

According to the annual NBA Rookie Survey, Damian Lillard is one of the more liked players in the league. Of the 42 rookies surveyed, 38% voted for LeBron James, 20% voted for Kevin Durant, and Lillard and Kawhi Leonard tied for third place with 8% of the vote. 

While he didn't finish in the Top 5, Lillard's backcourt mate CJ McCollum was among the "others receiving votes." That's saying something, considering Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry received 0% of the vote.

Lillard and McCollum weren't the only Blazers players being shown some love. It appears Blazers rookie Nassir Little is well respecting among his 2019 draft class peers.  

Little finished in third place with 5% of the vote in the category "which rookie was the biggest steal at where he was selected in the draft?" If you don't remember, Little was a projected lottery pick but slipped all the way to No.25 where the Blazers quickly grabbed him. He was considered a steal on draft night, and the rest of the rookies agree. 

The Blazers rookie also could be a force on the defensive side of the ball in this league. According to the survey, the rookies consider Little one of the best defenders in the class. In that category Little finished in third place with 8% of the vote, tied with Brandon Clarke and Jaxson Hayes.

The rookies and the rest of the league will get a chance to see Lillard, McCollum, Little and the rest of the Blazers when they open up preseason play against the Denver Nuggets on October 8th.  

Trail Blazers rookie Nassir Little enjoying his busy summer in Portland

Trail Blazers rookie Nassir Little enjoying his busy summer in Portland

Trail Blazers rookie Nassir Little surprised 170 young athletes at the Trail Blazers Summer Hoops Camp over the weekend.

The Portland Trail Blazers and Beaverton Hoop YMCA Youth had a total of two five-day Summer Camps at the Beaverton Hoop YMCA this summer. These camps are “for athletes in grades 1-8 and offer a great Trail Blazers Camp experience.”

Camp coaches focus on both introducing and building on fundamentals of the game.

The campers receive a game ticket to a Trail Blazers game, a reversible Nike Dri-Fit Jersey, special guest visits, and of course, five days of basketball fun and fundamentals.

Little helped coach the youngsters who had no idea that the Trail Blazers forward would be in attendance.

The 19-year-old has been spending his August in Portland. He made it known earlier this month that he loves PDX.

As Little gets set for his rookie season, he has already shown in Summer League that he can become a solid wing defender at the NBA level. There’s no doubt he will need to work on developing a consistent three-point shot.

But, one thing is for sure, Little is already winning over the hearts of Rip City youngsters.

Check out more pictures from this weekend’s Trail Blazers Summer Hoops Camp right here.

Can we have Bill Walton broadcast baseball games all the time?

Can we have Bill Walton broadcast baseball games all the time?

Former NBA and Trail Blazers star Bill Walton took over social media when he took over the broadcast booth on Friday night while working as a special guest analyst for the Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Angels game in Anaheim.

Friday's game was broadcast on NBC Sports Chicago as Walton joined NBCS Chicago’s play-by-play host Jason Benetti.

The 1977 Trail Blazers champion was a fill-in for regular White Sox analyst Steve Stone.

The broadcast went just as you would imagine it to would.

SO MANY GREAT QUOTES.

Here are just a few of the top quotes of the night from Walton:

“Is that the catcher? I tell you I’m not a very good catcher…”

“Putting all the powers together of the rare Earth minerals, you’ve just come up with this incredible computer generated stud for the future.”

“Rainbow is my favorite color.”

“Good eye, good patience… You tell that pitcher to bring it right in here.”

“GO! GO! This is gonna be a run… Here we go Sox. Take me out to the ball game, I don’t care if I never come back!”

In the fifth inning, when Mike Trout hit his 41st home run of the season, Walton analyzed it as so:

"That's Trout? Swimming upstream, avoiding all the flies, and sending one ricocheting through the universe."

MLB fans took to Twitter to express their love of Walton’s calls. There's no doubt fans want Walton to be in the broadcast booth for more MLB games.

The Scoop: Is this the year CJ McCollum becomes an All-Star?

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The Scoop: Is this the year CJ McCollum becomes an All-Star?

The latest Scoop livestream is brought you by Toyota of Portland.

This week on The Scoop, our Trail Blazers reporter Jamie Hudson and host of ‘The Bridge’ Justin Meyers take you around the NBA, and get you caught up on all things Trail Blazers as we get closer and closer to training camp!

Of course, with the NBA releasing the 2019-20 regular season schedules earlier this week that means it’s time to look ahead! The Blazers tip-off the regular season at home against the Denver Nuggets on October 23rd and all of Rip City is counting down…

Here’s a quick rundown of Thursday’s show:

Jamie and Justin find out Trail Blazers fans initial thoughts on this year’s regular season schedule. Also, they discuss the Blazers 50th anniversary court unveiling that happened earlier this week. 

Plus, the two debate --

Will CJ McCollum make the All-Star team this year?

In 2016, McCollum singed his first $100 million dollar contract. At that point, he was the fourth non-All-Star to have signed that large of a contract.

But, is this the season for CJ?

Of course, being an All-Star depends a lot on your team’s success. The Blazers are coming off a season in which they made it to the Western Conference Finals and McCollum showcased his consistency throughout that postseason run.

Injuries to other stellar backcourt players could also help McCollum on receiving his first All-Star nod this season.

Watch the FULL EPISODE of The Scoop right here:

Summer Scoop

Is this the year CJ McCollum becomes an All-Star? Let’s discuss! The Scoop brought to you by Toyota of Portland starts now 😎

Posted by NBC Sports Northwest on Thursday, August 15, 2019

The offseason work doesn’t stop for Anthony Tolliver

The offseason work doesn’t stop for Anthony Tolliver

On July 1, 2019, the Trail Blazers signed free agent Anthony Tolliver on a one-year, $2.6 million dollar deal. Tolliver provides depth at the power forward position, which was a bit thin heading into this upcoming season. 

Looks like he is eager to begin his journey in a Trail Blazers jersey. Tolliver posted a highlight video to his personal instagram account from a run the other day:

Tolliver is hitting from all over the court: taking his man down the baseline, smooth step backs, three-pointers. This was a great pickup for the Portland Trail Blazers. The 34-year-old shows leadership, experience and skill in this short 55 second highlight clip.

In his introductory press conference, Tolliver said to the media, “I was really looking for an opportunity to go to a team where I was valued and wanted. They made that very clear. I haven’t had free agency go this quickly in my entire career. But I couldn’t really pass up the opportunity to play for a contender and play with guys like Dame and CJ and there are a lot of great players on this team… And also, kind of watching the playoffs last year, how they got double-teamed a lot and that’s literally how guys like myself can excel.”

We are just 69 days out from the debut of Tolliver and the Portland Trail Blazers’ season-opener at home vs. the Denver Nuggets. 

You can view the full Trail Blazers 2019-2020 season here.

How the DeMarcus Cousins injury affects the Trail Blazers' chances in the Western Conference

How the DeMarcus Cousins injury affects the Trail Blazers' chances in the Western Conference

News broke today that newly acquired Lakers big man, DeMarcus Cousins, tore his ACL in a workout in Las Vegas.

Video of the injury has been acquired by TMZ:

This is just another in a string of terrible injuries Cousins has suffered in a short time span:

The league, and certainly LeBron James and the Lakers, will not be the same without Cousins in the mix. In a revamped West, any injury has a ripple effect across the Conference where just a few wins can mean the difference between home court advantage, the right match-up or a deep playoff run. 

The Blazers are scheduled to take on the Lakers 3 times this season. The first coming on Friday, December 6th at Moda Center. Another home game follows on Saturday, December 28th and finally a single road game at Staples Center on Friday, January 31st. Yes, they still have LeBron and Anthony Davis, but the loss of Cousins shouldn't be overlooked. Prior to the Cousins injury, the Lakers were sitting at about 4 to 1 to win the NBA Title making them one of the Top 3 teams along with the Clippers and Bucks. The Blazers come in at around 33 to 1 depending on where you pull the odds from. 

In the end, the Lakers odds in the West probably won't significantly change because of this. It makes three games on the Trail Blazers schedule just a little bit easier and with two games vs. LA being at home a chance to take the season series is certainly possible. It will make life for the Blazers front court in Hassan Whiteside, Zach Collins, and Pau Gasol a little bit more manageable in those games vs. LA, as they will already have their hands full with Davis.

All that said, the Trail Blazers are still projected at about a #7 seed, but we know how Damian Lillard and company like to prove people wrong.

You can check out the entire Trail Blazers schedule here.