Damian Lillard says Ed Davis might be too important for Trail Blazers to trade

Damian Lillard says Ed Davis might be too important for Trail Blazers to trade

Ed Davis said he likes living in Portland. He loves playing for the Trail Blazers. And when his contract runs out in June, he said he hopes he is able to sign another deal to keep him in Portland.

But after seven-plus NBA seasons for four different teams, Davis knows what he thinks about an organization, and his desire to stay in a city doesn’t mean much when it comes to the NBA’s trading deadline.

The NBA is a business and sometimes, business can be cold.

“I talked about it with my lady last night,’’ Davis said. “There’s a good chance that something could happen. We have to be prepared for it.’’

The trade deadline is Feb. 8, and Davis – who is in the middle of a stellar comeback season after undergoing left shoulder surgery – figures to be one of the more attractive assets the Blazers can dangle in their pursuit to improve their roster.

Davis is not only working with an expiring contract, which can be attractive to teams interested in saving money, he has once again emerged as one of the premier backup centers in the NBA because of his rebounding, defense and ability to set sturdy screens.

What might not be known outside of Portland, and outside of the locker room, is what Davis means to the Blazers beyond the court.

Within the Blazers’ locker room, emotions run deep for Davis. He is a mentor. As straight-forward as they come. And he is an old soul who is quick to joke, but also doesn’t promote or stand for ulterior or misguided motives.

“I’m not jut saying this to say it,’’ team captain Damian Lillard said, “but it don’t get no better than Ed. That’s just the truth.”

It’s why among his teammates, there is a little more excitement, a little more umph to the celebrations when Davis excels, as was the case Friday, when he had 15 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks in the Blazers’ win at Dallas.

Sure, his stats of 5.4 points and 7.0 rebounds won’t push a fantasy league owner over the top, but in the real world, where playoff appearances and championships are won with hard work and grit, Davis has established himself as a commodity.

So Feb. 8? It’s safe to say that date has the Blazers attention, particularly when the subject is Davis.

“He’s probably going to be a wanted man,’’ Lillard said.

And in a statement that will likely reverberate all the way up to Neil Olshey’s office, Lillard on Monday gave an emphatic endorsement.

Citing the bond that existed in Miami between Dwyane Wade and Udonis Haslem, which kept them together for 13 seasons, Lillard said he wants to create the same legacy with Davis.

“Look man, for me, the same way D-Wade was in Miami all those years and Udonis Haslem was there because he brought something to the team nobody else had … that’s how I feel about Ed,’’ Lillard said. “I always want Ed to be on my team. That’s the best way I can put it. I always want him on my team.’’

**

Four years ago, during his only season in Los Angeles with the Lakers, Davis said his career changed.

He was one of five big men competing for playing time, and as he watched Carlos Boozer, Robert Sacre, Ryan Kelly and Jordan Hill, he took notice.

“Every last one of those guys, all they did was take jump shots,’’ Davis said. “And I sense that (coach) Byron Scott was like, ‘I’m going to need somebody to do something different.’ So I said, ‘Forget this. I’m not going to take any jump shots. I’m just going to be a dawg, and that’s how I’m going to stay on the floor.’

“Ever since then, it has just stuck.’’

Davis has impacted games in several ways this season. Against Indiana this month, his offensive rebounds led to three second-chance baskets for teammates. On Friday against Dallas, he thwarted a soaring dunk attempt by Dennis Smith Jr. to protect a four-point lead in the third quarter. It was the game-changing moment of the game, as the Blazers ended up winning going away.

All told, Davis is fourth in the NBA in offensive rebound percentage, and ninth in overall rebound percentage.

Turns out, that day in Los Angeles when he realized his Lakers teammates were all the same, was the smartest thing Davis could have done.

Blazers coach Terry Stotts says that anybody who watches the team’s shooting contests can attest that Davis has a nice jumper from 15-feet. But because Davis knows, understands, and accepts his role, Stotts says he rarely attempts outside shots.

“There’s a difference between role definition and role acceptance,’’ Stotts said. “And Ed knows and accepts his role and knows he can excel in that role. Not everybody can do what Ed does. That is a talent. What he does is maybe not glamorous but it isn’t what everybody can do, and I think he takes pride in that.’’

**

As the 2012 trading deadline neared, Davis was enjoying the best stretch of his young career in Toronto.

As he boarded a team bus to head to Philips Arena in Atlanta, he learned that he had been traded to Memphis. Later that night, in his hotel room with his mother, Davis cried.

It was an experience that hardened him to the realities of pro sports, and it taught him to be ready for anything.

It’s why even though he is playing at the top of his game these days, he keeps a wary eye on the calendar.

“We have 15 guys on team, and I think a good 11 of the guys are like, man, I could be moved,’’ Davis said. “It’s human nature.’’

But Lillard, the team captain who recently met with owner Paul Allen to talk about the direction and plan for the team, said he hopes Davis is kept out of the Blazers’ trade talks.

 “I think he just means too much to our team,’’ Lillard said. “I mean, I don’t see anybody giving us anything worth giving him up. As far as backup centers, I don’t know that there’s another backup center out there that you give up Ed Davis for. I just don’t. Not just because of his production on the court, but because of what he means to a locker room.’’

It is those intangibles – Davis’ locker room presence, his embracing of the dirty work, and the mentoring he provides to younger players – that make him so beloved among his teammates.

He can sense it and see it when he has night’s like Friday in Dallas, the bench standing and waving towels, teammates pushing his chest on the court, the non-stop ribbing in the locker room.

“Honestly, I can feel it. When I do well, I know the reaction I get from teammates and it’s genuine,’’ Davis said. “I know how it can be. I played on teams where there were guys I just didn’t like as a person. Even when they did well, I wasn’t really happy for them, because I just didn’t like them as a person. Could be because how they treated people or how they carried themselves. For me, on this team when I play well, everybody from the coaches down to last person on roster is happy for me. That means a lot.’’

He offers a valuable element to the locker room dynamic. Lillard is the unquestioned leader, but Davis – who turns 29 in June – is the resident sage, a player whose life experience is as long as his 6-foot-10 frame.

He tells the youngsters to be on time. To support teammates whether you are playing or not. And, be real.

“There is certain stuff I can relate to with guys on the team that Dame can’t,’’ Davis said. “Like, Dame has never had a DNP-Coach’s Decision … little things like that.’’

And it’s not just what Davis says, it’s how he says it.  With Davis, there is no pretense, no act, no politicking. What you see, and what you hear, is 100 percent real.

“I’m not fake with nothing I do,’’ Davis said. “And I think a lot of the guys respect that.’’

Now, he and the rest of the team play the waiting game. The first domino in the 2018 trading deadline fell Monday when the Clippers reportedly sent Blake Griffin to Detroit. It will likely sink in further when the Blazers play at the Clippers Tuesday, then at Detroit next Monday.

He says he tries to narrow his focus to the next day, and the next game, but he admits it is human nature to think of what can happen.

The ultimate goal, he says, is to help the Blazers achieve their newly identified goal – securing home court advantage in the playoffs – while deepening the roots of his family in Portland (Davis has infant twins).

“I say it all the time – this is where I want to be,’’ Davis said. “When the season is over hopefully we can get a deal that works for both of us. I love the organization, I’m comfortable with the city. This is where I want to be. But at the end of the day, I understand it’s a business and there’s a lot that comes into play. But I’ve been around a little bit, and I know what I like, and what I don’t like. Being here is something I like.’’

Wade Baldwin may have an uphill battle for playing time this season with Trail Blazers

Wade Baldwin may have an uphill battle for playing time this season with Trail Blazers

OK, so now that we know Wade Baldwin is going to be on the roster of the Portland Trail Blazers this season, where does he fit?

Will he play? Will he be in the rotation? What will his role be?

For right now, I’m not sure those questions can be answered. Training camp and the exhibition season will certainly go a long way toward solving those issues.

But at this point, I’d say Baldwin might be in a tough spot.

The Trail Blazer backcourt is going to be as crowded as Interstate-5 North at rush hour, with some veteran players in line ahead of Baldwin.

If you’re thinking about him as the prime candidate to back up Damian Lillard at the point, you might be disappointed. Don’t forget that the Trail Blazers signed free agent Seth Curry and he’s come into his own as an NBA player. He's no longer just somebody's little brother.

While Curry has never been known as a distributor, he can certainly shoot the ball – perhaps Baldwin’s weakest area.

For his career, Curry has shot 47.3 percent from the field and 43.2 percent from three-point range. And yes, we’re talking about SETH Curry, not his brother STEPH.

Now I’m pretty sure Baldwin would have an edge over Curry at the defensive end of the court and may be a better playmaker. He's also the team's biggest and most physical point guard and is capable of playing at a very fast pace.  And one more thing in his favor -- he is a player Portland got for nothing who is quickly rebuilding his value as a one-time first-round pick. At some point, he could be a valuable trade piece.

That said, in today’s NBA, the game is becoming all about firepower –- and mostly long-range firepower. Curry can provide that to a team that needs an injection of accurate three-point shooting.

It’s also reasonable to expect rookie Anfernee Simons to get some playing time at one of the guard spots. Yes, he’s young but he’s a special player who needs to play if he’s not optioned to a G-League team.

Add in the projected off-guards on this squad – Nik Stauskas and Gary Trent Jr. – and you can see that Coach Terry Stotts has some decisions to make.

He has a crowd of interesting players at off-guard and could make a little more room for them on the court by using CJ McCollum as a backup point guard frequently.

Baldwin is going to be in the same position he’s been in for most of his career:

How much he plays will be up to him. And he’s probably going to have to play pretty well to earn a regular spot in the rotation.

 

 

Social media reacts to the 2018 Summer League Champs

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USA Today Img.

Social media reacts to the 2018 Summer League Champs

To say the Blazers are excited for this championship is an understatement. Hoist the trophy high, veterans excited for their rookies, and much more on social media reacting to this championship!

 

The rookies went to Twitter following the win, excited to bring the trophy home to Portland:

 

Even the rookies alma mater's chimed in:

 

So... about the championship parade... 

 

LINKS:

Read: Give credit to the Summer League Coaches

Read: Wade Baldwin feels good about his chances

Watch: Why winning Summer League matters

Credit Blazer coaching staff with a great job this summer

Credit Blazer coaching staff with a great job this summer

Moving forward, I'm not sure we can draw any conclusions about how much value -- if any -- Portland's summer-league championship will bring to the franchise moving forward. But I can say one thing for sure: it's a great tribute to the Portland coaching staff.

For the second summer in a row, the Trail Blazers assembled a roster of players who came together at both ends of the court. This year's championship team dominated every team it played and offensive execution and defensive aggression were a big part of that. And that is coaching. Head coach Jim Moran does a great job with his teams but the credit doesn't stop there. The entire Trail Blazer coaching staff -- Nate Tibbetts, David Vanterpool, Dale Osbourne and John McCullough -- contributes to the summer-league effort and these guys get only three or four days to organize and coach their squad before its first game.

And somehow, they create a solid team in a very short amount of time that plays the game hard and plays it right.

And it must also be pointed out that Neil Olshey has provided his young players a great chance to learn and improve by surrounding them in summer league with unselfish journeymen veterans who know how to play. This season it was K.J. McDaniels, Archie Goodwin and John Jenkins -- solid vets playing to land a job in the NBA or overseas -- combining with experienced Portland players Jake Layman and Wade Baldwin IV to give the youngsters a chance to succeed.

Time to say a few things about individual players who suited up for Portland's summer unit:

  • Anfernee Simons -- Way better than I expected him to be. Not intimidated and very obviously talented.
  • Gary Trent Jr. -- A pro shooter. He knows where he wants to get his shots and how to get them.
  • Wade Baldwin IV -- A legit NBA player who continues to improve. He's defending people well enough to get them mentally off their game. Man, does he need help at the foul line, though.
  • Jake Layman -- If he can bring that offensive confidence and jump shot into training camp, he's going to get rotation minutes this season.
  • Caleb Swanigan -- I'm never sure of what to expect from him. He has NBA rebounding and passing skills but struggles when playing against size.
  • Zach Collins -- He's coming along fast as a defender but would love to see him be able to consistently make shots.

In summary, you can make whatever summer-league victory parade and championship-ring jokes you want, but winning is fun no matter where you do it. And very often a lot or work behind the scenes goes into the effort.

 

 

Wade Baldwin feels good about his chances

Wade Baldwin feels good about his chances

Updated Thursday, July 19th - With the deadline now passed, Baldwin's contract is now fully guaranteed. The original story appears below.

LAS VEGAS - Wade Baldwin, who earned 2nd Team All-Summer League honors, said his goal was to go ‘full throttle’ and show during Summer League that he deserves to be on this Trail Blazers roster.

The deadline for the Blazers to make a decision on Baldwin’s guaranteed contract is July 18th at 11:59pm, when the clock strikes midnight, his contract becomes guaranteed.

While sporting his Championship shirt proudly, Baldwin told the media he feels good about his chances.

“I think I put myself in the best position possible in terms of accomplishments that I’ve made. In terms of being a winner, coming in here undefeated,” Baldwin said.

One person who will have some say in that is head coach Terry Stotts.
Over the last few years, the final day of Las Vegas Summer League for the Trail Blazers meant Stotts would offer up his thoughts and talk with the media members that were still around, and yes even after the team wins a Summer League Championship.

“I was really pleased with how we played, not how well we played. Obviously, it was a good week, but more importantly, we’re going to have six guys from this team that are going to be on our team and it was how they came together, how they played, they shared the ball. It was different guys, different nights, it was very encouraging,” Stotts said.

Yes, Stotts did say six players from this roster.
So, was that just a subconscious slip or is Wade Baldwin a member of this team next season? Baldwin averaged 13.4 points and 7.4 assists (3rd best in Summer League) in 25.4 minutes per game.   “It’s a team decision and I’ve talked with Neil and obviously the decision has to be made soon. It’s not my position to say what’s going to happen,” Stotts said.

[WATCH: The Scoop Postgame Show]
 

Blazer fans have been wondering who could take backup point guard minutes with Shabazz Napier now heading to Brooklyn.

After Baldwin led this Summer League team on both offense and defense, it would make sense for him to stick with Portland.
“The resume is out there. It’s up for whatever team it is or Portland to make a decision on what they want to do with me. I felt like I left it all out there and did the best I could,” Baldwin said with a smile.

One young guy who will be back in a Blazers uniform next season is Zach Collins, who finished Summer League averaging 8.0 points and 6.8 rebounds per game, but it’s not his play that he attributes a lot of the team’s success to this year.

“We have a really good leader in Wade Baldwin at the point guard position and that’s huge coming into Summer League, being able to control the game. Summer League sometimes is really chaotic, he did a really good job of being our floor general,” Collins said.  

For a Blazers team who has lacked defensive intensity at the guard position, Baldwin would be a great asset to have coming off the bench. 

Let the countdown begin for Blazer fans waiting to see if the guy who gave James Harden fits in the regular season last year and now that same guy who led this summer league team to a championship will be back with the Blazers.

We have just hours left of Baldwin Watch 2018.

 

Outsiders demand Summer League Championship T-Shirts!

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NBCS NW

Outsiders demand Summer League Championship T-Shirts!

Joe, Shain and Dan held a special postgame edition of the Outsiders on Tuesday night to celebrate the Summer League Championship!

If you missed the show, check out the link below, join them in a toast and enjoy the look back at the Summer League run.

Blazers Outsiders

BLAZERS WIN THE LAS VEGAS SUMMER LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP! It’s time to celebrate with the Outsiders.

Posted by NBC Sports Northwest on Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Scoop: Blazer enact revenge on Laker, #BeatLA

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NBCS NW

The Scoop: Blazer enact revenge on Laker, #BeatLA

There may not be a parade for this Championship but the Trail Blazers Summer League Team was very proud of their tournament win on Tuesday night. 

The Scoop was live streaming postgame as fans weighed in what this means, player evaluations, and how any of this might translate to the regular season:

Summer League Scoop Postgame

Your Portland Trail Blazers are the 2018 NBA Summer League Champs!!! The Blazers beat the Lakers, 91-73 #RipCity How you feeling, Scoop Nation!?

Posted by NBC Sports Northwest on Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Trail Blazers waive Georgios Papagiannis

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NBCSNW

Trail Blazers waive Georgios Papagiannis

The Trail Blazers have waived big man Georgios Papagiannis.

He plans to sign with Greece's Panathinaikos, which was first reported by Eurohoops. 

According to Eurohoops, "Panathinaikos has already included Papagiannis in the club’s long-term plans and are ready to add him with a three-year contract."

Papagiannis was first acquired by Panathinaikos when he was 17 years old and spent two seasons with the team before joining the NBA.

The 7'1" big appeared in 6 games during the Las Vegas Summer League where he averaged 1.3 points and 1.5 rebounds in just 7.5 minutes per game. 

Portland acquired Papagiannis this past March after he was waived by the Sacramento Kings, who drafted him in 2016 with the 13th overall pick.

Papagiannis appeared in just one game for the Blazers, playing four minutes of a 96-94 loss to the Houston Rockets 

He averaged 4.1 points and 3.2 rebounds over the course of 39 appearances over two seasons in the NBA.

Trail Blazers Are Summer League Champions!

Trail Blazers Are Summer League Champions!

LAS VEGAS - The Trail Blazers got revenge on the LA Lakers to pull out a victory in the 2018 Las Vegas Summer League Championship Game by a score of 91-73. 

It was a rematch of last year's summer league finale, but this time the Trail Blazers came out on top thanks to a strong defensive performance that held the Lakers to just 14.3% from the 3 point line. 

Players and Coaches had talked all week about how winning NBA Summer League was a goal for this team from the beginning, and tonight they finished what they started. 

Summer League MVP Josh Hart was ejected after his second technical with 4:45 to go in the game, but the Lakers trailed big at that time anyways. 

Portland finished the summer league a perfect 7-0 including both pool play and the tournament. 

BOX SCORE: Portland 91, LA 73

Be sure to follow us on social media for all kinds of postgame videos, a special interview with Head Coach Terry Stotts, and photos from the ceremony!

POSTGAME LINKS:
The Scoop Postgame Show
Trail Blazers Outsiders - Live Stream
Trail Blazers waive Georgios Papagiannis
Why did this summer league team click?

 

Wade Baldwin earns All-NBA Summer League Second Team honors

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nbcsnw

Wade Baldwin earns All-NBA Summer League Second Team honors

The following is a press release from the NBA:

 

LAS VEGAS, July 17, 2018 – The Los Angeles Lakers’ Josh Hart today was named Most Valuable Player of MGM Resorts NBA Summer League 2018.  The 6-5 guard also headlines the All-NBA Summer League Teams.

 

MGM Resorts NBA Summer League, an 82-game, 12-day event showcasing all 30 NBA teams for the first time, culminates tonight when the top-seeded Lakers face the second-seeded Portland Trail Blazers in the Championship Game at 10:00 p.m. ET on ESPN.  The meeting is a rematch of last summer’s Championship Game, which was won by the Lakers.

 

In this year’s competition, Hart is averaging an NBA Summer League-leading 24.2 points (on 47.1 percent shooting from the field), 5.2 rebounds and 1.5 steals in six games.  He scored 27 points and added six rebounds, three assists and three steals in the Lakers’ 109-92 victory over the New York Knicks on July 10.  In the tournament semifinals on July 16, Hart recorded 37 points and nine rebounds to lead the Lakers past the Cleveland Cavaliers 112-109 in double overtime.

 

Joining Hart on the MGM Resorts All-NBA Summer League First Team are Chicago Bulls forward Wendell Carter Jr., Knicks forward Kevin Knox, Cavaliers guard Collin Sexton and Milwaukee Bucks center Christian Wood.

 

The All-NBA Summer League Second Team is composed of Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton, Trail Blazers guard Wade Baldwin IV, Memphis Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr., Lakers forward Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young.

 

A media panel selected Hart as MVP and voted for the MGM Resorts All-NBA Summer League Teams.

 

MGM Resorts All-NBA Summer League First Team

Wendell Carter Jr. (Chicago)

Josh Hart (Los Angeles Lakers)

Kevin Knox (New York)

Collin Sexton (Cleveland)

Christian Wood (Milwaukee)

 

MGM Resorts All-NBA Summer League Second Team

Deandre Ayton (Phoenix)

Wade Baldwin IV (Portland)

Jaren Jackson Jr. (Memphis)

Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (Los Angeles Lakers)

Trae Young (Atlanta)