Allen Crabbe to undergo foot surgery

usatsi_9997689.jpg
USA Today

Allen Crabbe to undergo foot surgery

PORTLAND, Ore. (May 8, 2017) – Portland Trail Blazers guard Allen Crabbe will undergo surgery Thursday to repair a stress reaction of the fifth metatarsal bone in his left foot, it was announced today by president of basketball operations Neil Olshey.

The surgery will be performed by Dr. Martin O’Malley at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York.

In 79 games (7 starts) this season, Crabbe averaged 10.7 points (48.8% FG, 44.4% 3-PT, 84.7% FT), 2.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists. The NBA’s second most accurate 3-point shooter at 44.4%, Crabbe posted the highest percentage from beyond the arc in franchise history by a player with 100-plus 3-pointers. 

Life of a Rookie: Soaking it up like a sponge and a punch to the gut

Life of a Rookie: Soaking it up like a sponge and a punch to the gut

TUALATIN - Growing up dreaming of playing in the NBA and then all of sudden you can mark that off your to-do list... can you imagine that?

It was the first official NBA practice for the two Trail Blazers rookies on Tuesday and besides taking a blow to the stomach, it sounds like it was a successful first practice.

Anfernee Simons enters training camp as the Blazers 24th pick. He acknowledged after practice that he did not know what to expect, but knew it would be intense. 

Did Simons know how physical it would be? Maybe not.

“I got hit in the stomach. My stomach was hurting, but you got to push through that… It was like a glorified version of our Summer League practices, basically. It was real physical and we got after it,” Simons said.

Simons got hit while the team was scrimmaging but said the injury is nothing serious and he continued to participate in the rest of practice.

All in all, the IMG Academy shooting guard felt pretty good to get the first practice out of the way.  

“It went pretty well. I didn’t really know what to expect so I kind of go out there and work as hard as I can… I kind of got stronger as the practice went on,” Simons said.

FROM BLUE DEVIL TO TRAIL BLAZER
For Gary Trent Jr., training camp it is all about having your eyes and ears open to the coaching staff and teammates.

“My main focus is to really just be a sponge-- learn everything I can from the coaches and players. Just learn everything, soak it all up, and try to grow and get better with it,” Trent said.

By looking at Trent Jr. and Simons you wouldn’t know they are both 19 years old, Trent Jr. has been coined as “having a NBA body already” by his teammate CJ McCollum.

But how is he handling the mental challenges that come with going up against NBA talent?

“It was tough. We learned a lot. There was a lot being thrown at us early, but it was everything I expected and I’m here for.”

You don’t make it to the NBA without having confidence in yourself, but for a rookie it seems Trent Jr. could be a step ahead with how he personifies his level of confidence. 

“Gary Trent Jr. is physically there. On defense and on offense he can get to spots and make shots. He’s real confident,” Damian Lillard proudly said of his fellow teammate.  


CRACKING THE ROTATION
With toughness and the willingness to learn, not to mention the ability to score, one would think there’s a possibility that either one or both rookies could crack the rotation this season.

Yes, it’s too early to tell, but one thing is for sure, Coach Terry Stotts is given us a reality check when talking about the youngsters.

“They had rookie moments. They played well. There’s a lot of new stuff being thrown at them and a lot of bodies, but they acquitted themselves well. Their role is to just keep learning,” Stotts explained.  

It’s day one and those rookie lapses will happen. The good thing for Blazer fans is, you get your first real look at the rookies in game action on Saturday when the Blazers take on the Raptors live on NBCS Northwest at 4pm. 

 

Jack McKinney, '77 Championship team assistant coach, passes away

blazers.jpg
USATI

Jack McKinney, '77 Championship team assistant coach, passes away

Jack McKinney, whose NBA coaching career included serving as a Portland Trail Blazers assistant coach, has passed away at age 83.  He is best remembered locally as the lead assistant for Hall of Fame Head Coach Dr. Jack Ramsay for three seasons, including the Trail Blazers 1977 NBA Championship team. 

Prior to joining the Trail Blazers staff in 1976, McKinney was an assistant coach in Milwaukee.  After his success on Ramsay’s staff in Portland, McKinney was named head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers in 1979.  Unfortunately, a serious bicycle accident only 14 games into his Lakers tenure forced McKinney to take medical leave.  That same Lakers team later won the 1979 NBA Championship under Paul Westhead.  

“He was both a good friend and excellent assistant coach under Jack Ramsay, and we’re sorry to learn of his passing,” said Trail Blazers Ambassador and former broadcaster Bill Schonely about McKinney.  “Jack McKinney really knew the game of basketball, which made him so appealing as an NBA head coach during his career.”

McKinney eventually became head coach of the Indiana Pacers, where he accumulated a coaching record of 125-203 from 1980-84.  He was the NBA’s Coach of the Year following his first season with the Pacers.  In 1984 after being let go by the Pacers, McKinney was briefly head coach for the former Kansas City Kings (now Sacramento), but resigned after a 1-8 start.

Can the Blazers be ready for a game after just 4 days of camp?

Can the Blazers be ready for a game after just 4 days of camp?

 

TUALATIN – The Trail Blazers opened training camp Tuesday at their practice facility and it isn’t going to take long to find out just how well things are going.

The Blazers have just four days to prepare for their first preseason game – a 4 o’clock Saturday contest (to be carried on NBC Sports Northwest) in Vancouver, B.C., against the Toronto Raptors.

It’s a bit early in camp for a game – but the players are all for it.

“I’m ready,” said CJ McCollum. “This is what you build on in the summer time.”

The days of players reporting to training camp and just playing their way into shape are long gone in the NBA. When the Trail Blazers got together a few years ago as a group and started working out before camp it was a big thing. Now, most NBA teams start working out prior to camp.

“You’ve got to be ready to play before training camp,” McCollum said. “It’s not the way it was 10 or 15 years ago.”

Still, it’s unusual to play this quickly into the opening of camp.

“It’s different,” Damian Lillard said. “Some years we haven’t played for a week and a half.

“But I think it’s kind of good. We have the whole beginning of September where we’re in here working out, working out and playing against each other. Then we have training camp.

“It’s like you’re all on top of each other and then we lift weights together. You’re with each other all the time. So you want a piece of somebody else.  You want some live action.”

And Lillard has been around long enough now that he can probably get through a training camp on automatic pilot if he wanted to do it. He spends part of his on-court time now helping the new players through the practices -- captain-like duties.

“For me,” he said, “with this being my seventh year, I’ve played a lot. I’m like – all of this I’ve got a good grip on it -- I want to see what it’s going to look like against somebody else.”

Coach Terry Stotts isn’t going to change much of his camp routine over the next three days, just because of an upcoming non-counting game.

“I’m really not that concerned about it,” he said. “We’re not going to have any out of bounds plays in.

“And one of the benefits is that it shows you what you need to work on.”

It’s going to be something like an early pop quiz – just to measure progress. And to see people on the court against unfamiliar faces.

“We’ll see – you’ll get a chance to see things,” Lillard said. “When you get in a game, things are different. It’s just different. We’re all friends here. Everybody respects you.

“When you get out there in a game it’s different. They may not respect you. It does something to you inside. That’s why I’m glad we’re playing Saturday. You’ll see things you didn’t see before.”

Trail Blazers' continuity will be a strength and a challenge

Trail Blazers' continuity will be a strength and a challenge

Evan Turner understands the Trail Blazers’ strongest asset heading into the 2018-19 season might be their continuity.

The team brings back its top six minutes per game leaders from last season and 11 returners across the roster. 

“That means everything in the NBA … chemistry, familiarity especially to start the season,” Turner said at media day on Monday, a day before he embarks on his third training camp with the team. “To be able to know how guys play and to have our culture understood and what guys do in roles and assignments is going to be huge. That’s going to be a plus for us.”

The Blazers re-tooled their bench this summer, letting Ed Davis, Shabazz Napier and Pat Connaughton go in free agency. Newly signed guard Seth Currry should have a spot in the rotation immediately but the other newcomers, free agent Nik Stauskas and rookies Gary Trent Jr. and Anfernee Simons are likely to start the season outside of the regular playing rotation.

That means the bulk of the minutes will go to a very familiar faces.

Portland returns its entire starting lineup of Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Moe Harkless, Al-Farouq Aminu and Jusuf Nurkic, a group that has ranked among the league’s top lineups for the past two seasons. Turner is back as the team’s sixth man and Zach Collins should slide in as the first big man off the bench. 

There’s an established rotation, a clear minutes hierarchy and a deep understanding of system and roles. But the Blazers have been here before with roster continuity heading into camp, only to start seasons slowly and be forced  salvage them with winning streaks in March and April.

That’s why at the team’s pre-training camp dinner at The Foundry in Lake Oswego coach Terry Stotts spoke to the team about the pitfalls that can confound a roster full of familiar faces. He explained that the team won’t have the luxury of a slow start this season, and that roster continuity doesn’t automatically equate to early season success.

With 10 returning players in 2016-17 the Blazers began the season 18-27. Last season, with 11 returning players the Blazers hovered around .500 while losing six straight home games in December.

Lillard on Monday dismissed the idea that a team returning nearly all of its top contributors could fall victim to the traps of complacency and end up in an early season swoon.

“I don’t see how we can be complacent about anything,” the Blazers captain said. "I think it’s a level of comfort with each other when we’ve been teammates for a few years now. We know each other pretty well. So there’s comfort, but I don’t think we’re in a position to be complacent.”

In his short time around the team in early September, Curry said he’s noticed the exact attitude Lillard alluded to.

“They’re not satisfied with just making the playoffs every year,” Curry explained of his first impressions of his new teammates. “They want to make the next jump. They have a chip on their shoulder. The West is tougher but we have a lot of expectations with the team in terms of getting better.”

With the Blazers’ roster and rotation will looking very similar to last season’s 49-win outfit, the route to getting better comes via subtle changes.  

Stotts said he might completely abandon some offensive sets he installed six years ago when he first took the job with the Blazers while adding in a few new wrinkles during training camp. 

The Blazers will also likely experiment with more lineups where both Lillard and McCollum are on the bench, giving Turner a chance to run the second unit surrounded by four shooters. There are no wholesale changes coming on defense either, but Stotts said he’s considered pressuring the ball more with certain lineups on the floor.

When training camp opens up Tuesday morning there is no massive challenge of integrating a new major piece or learning a completely new playbook. Instead its a group leaning on their  continuity hoping that familiarity can be a major weapon.

As Lillard put it: “I think our biggest obstacle is staying focused on what’s in front of us.”

CJ McCollum loves him some Baker Mayfield

CJ McCollum loves him some Baker Mayfield

In a lot of ways, NBA players are no different than you and me. And with that, many of them live and die with their favorite sports teams and in the case of CJ McCollum, that team is the Cleveland Browns.

The Canton, Ohio native is a life long Browns fan (bless his heart) and his experience has been well documented on Twitter. 

At Trail Blazers media day, I asked McCollum how much of a Baker Mayfield fan he was coming off the heals of Mayfield's incredible Thursday Night Football performance. 

Mayfield entered in the middle of the first half after Tyrod Taylor left the game with a concussion. Mayfield went 17-23 for 201 yards and led the Browns to their first victory in 635 days and CJ couldn't help but get excited about it.

"I am a Baker Mayfield fan. I was a fan when he planted the flag in the middle of the block O after the game (when Mayfield was in college and Oklahoma beat Ohio State in early 2018). That told me a lot about his character, a lot about his toughness, and his leadership because he didn't do it by himself, the team followed..."

McCollum continued, "He’s a gamer. Walk-on, Heisman, number one pick... The moxie he has, people compare him to Johnny (Manziel) but he loves football. Johnny played it because he was good. He (Baker) loves football, knows the playbook. First time playing with the 1s was in that game, he didn’t get any reps with the 1st during training camp or the preseason."

Even off camera, the Mayfield discussion continued as McCollum praised his pocket pressence and decision making. 

For a little extra fun, keep an eye out social media this weekend as McCollum's Browns (1-1-1) take on Damian Lillard's struggling Oakland Raiders (0-3) with a 1:05pm kickoff. 

"I cant wait to see him dissect the Raiders this weekend," McCollum said with a smile. 

Let the friendly trash talking begin. 

Three Trail Blazers engaged to be married, but all of them engaged on defense too

Three Trail Blazers engaged to be married, but all of them engaged on defense too

A few player-related thoughts from Trail Blazer media day:

  • Gary Trent Jr. has an outgoing personality. And from all you hear from his teammates, he's got plenty of confidence, too. Those are not qualities that guarantee greatness, but I do believe they help.
  • Al-Farouq Aminu was very excited about the success of his Nigerian national team in the FIBA qualifying tournament. His team has romped undefeated past the Africa teams and qualified for the final tournament next summer. "China!" he said with a wide smile. And yes, that's where they will hold the championship rounds.
  • I was surprised at the ease Anfernee Simons handled his television interview with us. He's a cool customer and he's also getting very good reviews from his teammates off his performance in pre-camp workouts. They're talking about his explosiveness and ability to make shots.
  • Just so you know, three Trail Blazers became engaged this summer -- Jake Layman, Nik Stauskas and CJ McCollum are now committed.
  • Just about every player we interviewed Monday spoke about the necessity of playing good defense in order to earn playing time. A smart group of players.
  • I loved Damian Lillard telling Jusuf Nurkic on camera about the responsibilities of getting a new contract -- and the expectations that go with it. Wise words from a wise man.
  • Maurice Harkless said he's about 80 percent healthy but does expect to be ready to go by the start of the regular season.
  • I love the idea that this team has added more three-point shooters. It's going to open the floor for the starting guards and provide more overall firepower.
  • Sometimes when McCollum talks about the game, I almost expect him to pull out a package of charts and a laser pointer. He talks fast and with great detail when evaluating the game and you almost expect visual aids.

McGowan will continue to live in Portland, run the Blazers

McGowan will continue to live in Portland, run the Blazers

The president and chief executive officer of the Portland Trail Blazers is soon going to be a very busy man.

Chris McGowan, who was served in that capacity for the Trail Blazers since 2012, was named Monday the CEO  of Paul Allen's Vulcan Sports and Entertainment, overseeing the business operations of all VSE sports franchises and facilities, which include the Seattle Seahawks, the Trail Blazers, CenturyLink Field, WaMu Theater and Moda Center. Vulcan also named Chuck Arnold as president of the Seahawks.

“Chris and Chuck have produced excellent results for their organizations for many years, and I know VSE and the Seahawks are in good hands under their leadership,” said Allen in a statement on the Seahawks' website.

McGowan said he will not move to Seattle and will continue his duties as president and CEO with the Trail Blazers.

"It's a great new role for me," McGowan said on a media conference call.  "Becoming the CEO of Vulcan Sports and Entertainment -- there is no other better job in sports when you think of the teams it represents.

"I will still be heavily involved with the Blazers. Obviously that's a huge priority. We have a great management team in Portland.

"We’re really financially healthy in Portland. We have been the last several years."

McGowan was asked about the advantages of having the Seattle and Portland-based business operations tied closer together under one leader.

There are opportunities when you run things together," he said. "This is an unbelievable platform if we operate things together."

For instance?

"A couple thoughts there," he said. "Sponsorships. You can talk to brands about multiple platforms…. And it also helps in recruiting and maintaining employees in the organization. There may be someone who has a better opportunity for growth in one of the other organizations. There will be good opportunities for people.

"And then live entertainment. We have music venues in both cities. There are economies of scale… a lot of interesting opportunities I get excited about."

 

Videos from Trail Blazers Media Day

ripcity.jpg
NBCSNW

Videos from Trail Blazers Media Day

Basketball is back and it's time for Trail Blazers Media Day! We will be updated this article all day long with live videos from the event. 

Click the links below to hear what the team has to say:

General Manager Neil Olshey

Head coach Terry Stotts

Damian Lillard

CJ McCollum

Jusuf Nurkic

Al-Farouq Aminu 

Maurice Harkless

Meyers Leonard

Evan Turner

Seth Curry

Zach Collins

Anfernee Simons

Jake Layman

Wade Baldwin

 

 

CJ McCollum proposes to longtime girlfriend

screen_shot_2018-09-23_at_5.20.23_pm.png
@CJMcCollum

CJ McCollum proposes to longtime girlfriend

Just one day before Trail Blazers open up training camp, Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum announces his engagement to longtime girlfriend Elise Esposito.

 

McCollum now joins Jake Layman and Nick Stauskas as other Blazer players to pop the question to their significant others this offseason.
Elise also shared this photo on her instagram acount.

 


Trail Blazers Media Day tips off on Monday at 11:30am. You can check out 'The Brian Noe Show' on NBC Sports Northwest from 12-3pm for tomorrow’s coverage live from Moda Center.