REPORT: Damian Lillard and Trail Blazers agree on supermax contract extension

REPORT: Damian Lillard and Trail Blazers agree on supermax contract extension

12:33pm UPDATE: Brian Windhorst of ESPN is reporting that the Blazers and Damian Lillard have agreed on a supermax extension deal. 

As first reported by The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Trail Blazers All-Star point guard Damian Lillard was working with the Blazers on a supermax contract extension Sunday afternoon.

Lillard qualified for a supermax deal after earning second-team All-NBA honors this season.

According to Charania, Lillard's annual salary would be $43 million over six years since Lillard has two seasons remaining on his five-year, $139.9 million contract that he signed back in July of 2015.


If this new deal is confirmed, it would mean Lillard would be a Blazer through at least the 2024-25 season.

[RELATED]: Damian Lillard can now sign supermax extension -- but what is that?

As a seven-year veteran, Lillard helped guide the Blazers to the Western Conference Finals for the first time since 2018. Lillard is eligible for the 35% max extension as a designated veteran player.

According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, Lillard was in his hometown of Oakland on Sunday, along with his representatives to meet with Blazers President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey to finalize the four-year, supermax extension.

The 4x NBA All-Star holds career averages of 23.5 points, 6.3 assists and 4.2 rebounds.

 

Winning formula: How the Trail Blazers controlled James Harden and pace of the game

Winning formula: How the Trail Blazers controlled James Harden and pace of the game

A quick look back at an impressive Portland win in the Orlando Bubble:

The Trail Blazers have struggled on defense for a good part of this season, but in their last three games against the Houston Rockets -- all wins -- there isn’t much evidence of that.

Portland has been able to keep the Rockets, and their superstar scorer James Harden, under control and Tuesday night’s 110-103 win was another example of a defensive game plan working to near perfection.

For the Trail Blazers, stopping Harden has been Job One. Portland has double-teamed him, trapped him and used multiple defenders on him. The result has been that Harden has not had a lot of opportunities to get into his cat-and-mouse, one-on-one show, putting defenders on ice skates with his step backs, rip-throughs and side steps.

Harden is averaging 22.5 shot attempts per game for the season, but in the last three contests vs. Portland he’s managed to get only 12, 18 and 17 shots. He is 15 for 47. He averages 12.5 three-point attempts per game and in these last three vs. the Blazers he’s taken only 6, 8 and 8.

And Portland isn’t fouling him, either. Harden is a magician at getting to the line, but he’s managed just 8, 6 and 7 attempts in those three games, while averaging 11.9 for the season.

Averaging 34.3 points per game this year, Harden has scored 13, 18 and 23 in those last three Portland games.

“It is difficult for him to get a rhythm,” Houston Coach Mike D’Antoni said following Tuesday night’s loss.

But D’Antoni pointed to another thing the Trail Blazers are doing that is affecting the Rockets. Portland is slowing Houston down.

“We didn’t play at our pace,” said the Rockets’ coach. “And if we don’t play at our pace, we just kind of play into them. Then they’re going to beat us up a little bit. And they did that, especially in the first half.

“I think our biggest problem with the whole game, first of all, we didn’t come out with a lot of energy. It was pretty soft at the start. We never pushed, we never really got the big push to move the ball, so we gave them a chance to double him every time.

“OK, you all double us, pass, we’ll get a shot. We got a lot of open shots, but we have to play faster, and we have to go before the double team gets to James… That’s where we made a mistake.”

Harden was also burdened with foul trouble, including a controversial fifth foul that Harden didn’t like. D’Antoni was asked why he didn’t ask for video review of the play and his answer was refreshingly honest.

“It was a foul,” he said. “I looked at it and thought it was a foul. I didn’t want to challenge it at that point.”

Portland went big throughout the game, but the Rockets, who have had great success playing small ball, did not exploit a perceived edge in quickness.

“We just kind of got into their kind of game,” D’Antoni said. “We weren’t running. They were big, a little bit slower than us, and we played just the way they played.

“It was a lack of energy, third game, heavy legs -- i don’t know. We just couldn’t get over the hump.

“Their bigs are good. Nurkic is a load.”

Harden didn’t talk much about the Portland defense.

“You know, I think we had a lot of opportunities we missed,” he said. “Defensively, we played hard. They made shots down the stretch and we didn’t.

“I couldn’t get as aggressive as I wanted. Mainly foul trouble. Like I said, we had a lot of open shots that, if we make those, it’s a different ballgame. Even myself, I had some good shot opportunities late in the fourth quarter that just didn’t go in.”

Gary Trent Jr. isn't shy, and that's just what the Trail Blazers need

Gary Trent Jr. isn't shy, and that's just what the Trail Blazers need

There is an undeniable fearlessness to Gary Trent Jr. 

The Trail Blazers second year guard is confident enough to stroll into an empty arena in Orlando with a flame-adorned, black denim button-up fastened so it purposely exposes his bare navel as well as his high-end fanny pack. And since no outfit is complete without accessories, the script on his Supreme beanie matches the flames along the trim of his shirt. 

This is not an outfit for the meek. It’s more Guy Fieiri meets Paris Fashion Week. The Mayor of Flavortown on the Champs-Élysées.

“Ever since I can remember I've been stylish,” Trent Jr. says, explaining that his grandmother helped instill in him an appreciation for dressing nice at an early age.

His brazen sartorial choices off the court perfectly encapsulates his approach on the court.

Seconds after checking into the game in the first quarter on Tuesday night, Trent Jr. tracked down James Harden at the rim and blocked a would-be layup by the former MVP.

His game is not for the meek, either. Nothing about any of this is timid.

He plays with the confidence that has made him an invaluable part of the Trail Blazers rotation and earned him crunch time minutes during what amounts to an extended postseason run. He’s shown his full game in Orlando. There has been rugged defense and eagerness to try to lock up stars like Ja Morant, Jayson Tatum and James Harden. While constantly pestering and disrupting opponents, helping him rank eighth in the NBA in deflections per game since the restart.

That determined defense has been a perfect complement to a hotter than Central Florida in August shooting stroke. Through three games in Orlando, Trent Jr. is 15-for-25 from beyond the three-point line, tied for the most makes from deep of anyone in the NBA.

On Tuesday against the Rockets, the Blazers grinded out a crucial win to move within 1.5 games of the Memphis Grizzlies in the race for the eighth seed in the West. Trent Jr. finished with 16 points and made 4 of 9 three-pointers in 35 minutes, coming up big with the game on the line. After Houston tied the score with under four minutes to go, Trent Jr. calmly drilled a spot-up three from the left wing to give Portland the lead for good. 

It was the third straight game where Trent Jr. has been on the floor at crunch time as he has grown into an essential contributor after beginning the year as a developmental piece at the end of the rotation. In Portland’s first game it was Trent Jr. who was tasked with slowing down Morant in overtime as the Blazers clawed out an all important win over the Grizzlies. Then against Boston, Trent Jr. shot an absurd 7-for-11 from beyond the arc to help the Blazers stay afloat before their late rally fell short.

The NBA restart has condensed the league down to only its most competitive teams, and the Blazers are in a mad scramble to make the playoffs. This eight game dash isn’t for the meek. Luckily, nothing about Trent Jr. fits that description.

Trail Blazers hilarious post-win recovery begins with A LOT of ice

Trail Blazers hilarious post-win recovery begins with A LOT of ice

How many pounds of ice does it take to cool off the Trail Blazers?

Well, a lot, actually. 

After the Trail Blazers 110-102 win over the Houston Rockets, Trail Blazers Performance Coach Todd Forcier documented the team’s recovery methods. 

The team loaded up an entire golf cart with ice and went back to their hotel. A whopping 520 pounds worth of ice, to be exact. Poolside, the team hopped in the mini pools filled with frigid water. 

WATCH

1am cold tubs do the body good!

Social media was loving it, too!

Bubble life!

The Trail Blazers begin their recovery for Thursday night’s game vs. the Denver Nuggets at 5pm. 

[You can listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast here with special guest Bill Walton]:

   

Carmelo Anthony's 'HOF value' taken advantage of by Blazers (unlike Rockets)

Carmelo Anthony's 'HOF value' taken advantage of by Blazers (unlike Rockets)

Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum was eager to show off his pipes Tuesday night, while singing a popular 90s song titled  “Don't take it personal” by Monica

For all the 90s kids out there, they were ready to listen to McCollum and see him dance during his postgame interview.

The song was a reply to a question about whether or not Carmelo Anthony enjoyed hitting a dagger three-pointer against the Rockets Tuesday night just simply because it was the Rockets.

Because it was the one team that signed him and cut him after just 10 games during the 2018-19 season.

It was the one team that didn’t see what the Trail Blazers saw in him and have continued to see in him: His value -- both on and off the court.

Anthony rose up from three with 54.6 seconds remaining before draining the dagger to put the Blazers up five. Portland would eventually hold on and beat the Rockets, 110-102 Tuesday night.

Oooohhh, don’t take it personal. --That’s one of my favorite songs. -- CJ McCollum sang postgame 

But once, McCollum wrapped up singing his response, he added, “I thought [Melo] did great. Dame [Lillard] did a good job of penetrating, making the defense collapse, kicking it out to me, it was deflected, I caught it, I heard [Gary Trent Jr.] saying one more to my right, and then I heard the Legend saying one more to my left, so I passed it to the Legend and he knocked it down... I’m glad he made it... And, insult to injury, it being against the Rockets the team that got rid of him, I think it was that much sweeter... that much more enjoyable for him."  

[You can listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast here with special guest Bill Walton]:

   

Anthony finished with a double-double against the Rockets, his former team, Tuesday night, recording 15 points and 11 rebounds.  

Melo explained what he enjoyed most about the game down the stretch saying, “the three-pointer that I made was a big shot, but the plays on the defensive end – one steal, diving on the floor, the corner block on [PJ] Tucker, and then how we was just able to kind of lock in on the defensive end down the stretch when we needed to make plays and needed to get stops we did that.”

So, did Melo take it personal, though?

“No, the meaning it carried a little bit from the simple fact that we knew how important this game was to us and we approached this game as a must win just as we did in the previous two games… But tonight we all stepped up to the challenge.”

The Trail Blazers now continue their quest for the play-in games out West.

The goal of the NBA restart as stated by team captain Damian Lillard over and over again: is to make the playoffs.

Portland sits in the ninth seed in the Western Conference standings with their 2-1 record through three seeding games. San Antonio and New Orleans are knocking at the door, though.

But having Carmelo Anthony cannot be overstated.

He is Hall of Fame valuable… He’s easily first ballot, a guy who does a lot of everything. He still has a lot left in the tank and tonight he rebounded, he was closing out guys on the perimeter. Obviously he hit a big shot down the stretch, but his presence, his ability to manipulate a game and his communication from a friendship standpoint – he’s been really great for our entire team.  -- Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum

The value of a Hall of Famer is and will continue to be key for the Trail Blazers, and just as Lillard put it, Melo is "all about the team."

When we got [Melo] everybody had something to say about him – what he gonna do defensively, he’s getting older, he’s done, where’s he gonna fit in? – everybody just had something to say – why it didn’t work out with these other teams. And then he came to us and he was just laid back, a good teammate, good for our younger players. When we on the floor he’s talking whether he’s having a good or bad game – just all about the team.  -- Trail Blazers All-Star Damian Lillard

After a second straight slow start for Lillard, he and the Blazers came on strong to end the game versus Houston. The five-time All-Star finished with 21 points to lead the Blazers.

But, Lillard knows that it’s Melo’s leadership that has been key, especially in crunch time.  

“He understands what we need from him in certain situations,” Lillard said. “Or depending on how the game is going, he just knows where to put himself in a place to help the team.”

Lillard added, “I find it real funny, and disrespectful on how people speak on him, he’s a Hall of Famer.”

Rockets guard Russell Westbrook, who finished with 15 points on 5-of-14 shooting in Tuesday’s loss, also had plenty to say about his former teammate.

“Melo is a Hall of Famer, man,” Westbrook said. “He’s an unbelievable teammate. It’s always good to see him do well, play well. He belongs in this league. He’s shown that time in and time out.”

Yes, Melo has shown he still belongs in this league, there's no doubt about that.

And soon we'll find out if he and the Blazers still belong in the bubble once the postseason tips off.

Carmelo Anthony continues to prove doubters wrong, deserves an apology

Carmelo Anthony continues to prove doubters wrong, deserves an apology

We are now accepting “Carmelo Anthony Apology” forms on behalf of the 12x All-Star from everyone who believed that Melo was ‘washed’ and that his time in the league had run its course.  

The 36-year-old veteran has proven the haters wrong.

ESPN First Take’s Max Kellerman had some choice words about the future Hall of Fame back on May 1, 2018:

‘Washed’ let’s face it… But Carmelo Anthony as has been pointed out by Paul Pierce on our air. Can’t really get his own shot anymore. If he is reduced to a catch-and-shoot guy, he’s not an incredible shooter. He can hit an outside shot of course, but he doesn’t do it at an incredible clip. He doesn’t play defense. So what else does he do? — Max Kellerman

[Listen to the latest Talkin' Blazers Podcast with hosts NBA Champion Channing Frye and Emmy Award winner Dan Sheldon and special guest Blazers legend Bill Walton].

Well Max, let’s roll the clips and start with what he did on Tuesday night against his former team, the Houston Rockets.

This was the same reason that Houston let Melo go after just 10 games with the Rockets in 2018:

The 18-year, future Hall of Famer has been nothing short of clutch for Portland during this NBA restart, hitting huge shots with not a lot of time left on the game clock. He rises to these big moments. 

After the game, his point guard Damian Lillard spoke out:

He’s a Hall of Famer. I think it’s more disappointing that people are surprised by it. He’s a Hall of Famer like I said, he’s a great teammate, and that’s what we expect from him. We put him in those positions because we expect him to make those shots. We believe he’s going to make those shots, and we brought him here because we knew he would make a difference for our team and he’s been doing that. — Damian Lillard on Melo

Here’s what ‘Skinny Melo’ has been doing in the restart:

- Game 1 vs. Memphis: 21 points, 7 rebounds, two steals.

- Game 2 vs. Boston: 13 points, 3 rebounds, two assists, one block.

- Game 3 vs. Houston: 15 points, 11 rebounds, two steals, one assist.

Second-year player Gary Trent Jr. has quite literally turned up the heat for Portland this season. He has proven to be a solid backup at the three spot behind Melo and the two have formed a nice relationship on and off the court.

[RELATED]: Carmelo Anthony has taken a confident Gary Trent Jr. under his wing

GTJ also thinks Melo deserves an apology.

Everybody that's said something negative about him-- they need to apologize. That's Carmelo Anthony... for him to come back and bounce back like its nothing-- that's why he's Carmelo Anthony. It's a blessing to have him on our team. -- Gary Trent, Jr. 

Thank you to all the other teams who also thought Melo was ‘washed’ because Rip City sure loves Melo in a pinwheel jersey.

The Blazers will face the Denver Nuggets at 3 PM (PT) on Thursday Night and you can catch the game at NBC Sports Northwest or stream it on the MyTeams app!

Damian Lillard said,'We wanted them to adjust to us' and the Rockets never did

Damian Lillard said,'We wanted them to adjust to us' and the Rockets never did

The Trail Blazers Tuesday night played most of their game against Houston the old-school way. You know, get the ball down low to the big man, if he has a matchup advantage, lock down on the other team’s best players and rebound the basketball.

So many teams have surrendered to the Rockets’ small-ball lineup, deciding they better go small and try to beat them at their own game, And they have usually failed. Portland didn’t give in. The Blazers stayed big all night and made the Rockets pay in an impressive 110-102 win that brought Portland’s bubble record to 2-1.

“We wanted them to adjust to us instead of us coming out and switching up everything we do,” said Portland’s Damian Lillard, who led his team with 21 points. “Since we’ve been here, we’ve been challenging our bigs to be ready to step up and switch and chase guys on the perimeter and also protect the paint.

“And our bigs have done a great job. Nurk, Hassan, Zach -- they’ve all done a great job. And tonight was no different on the defensive end. They were having to close out to guys and (the Rockets) made some threes but we said we’re going to make them pay on the glass and beat guys inside to try to take advantage of that and we’re going to see who gets the better of who at playing their game.

“And I believe it showed we were able to win that battle.”

And they are one of the few teams in the league who have pulled that off. But it was Portland’s third win in four tries against the Rockets. And a lot of that is due to a mixed bag of Trail Blazer defensive tactics, which features all sorts of different looks on Houston high-scorer James Harden. Portland held him under 20 points in its two previous wins over the Rockets and he got only 23 Tuesday night. Russell Westbrook had just 15. The duo combined to hit just 12 of its 31 shots.

Portland focuses much of its defense on Harden, using double-teams, different players one-on-one and traps against him and it has been effective.

The Blazers got a heaping helping of clutch play from Carmelo Anthony down the stretch, when the game turned into a three-point contest -- which you aren’t supposed to be able to win against the Rockets.

But with the score tied at 100 and under three minutes to play, the veteran Hall of Famer-to-be showed why he has been such a big addition to the roster. He’s battle tested and comfortable in tight spots.

Melo blocked a three-point shot by P.J. Tucker that led to a Gary Trent three-point goal that boosted Portland into the lead.

Then, after Harden missed a three and with the Trail Blazers nursing a two-point lead, Anthony calmly knocked down a 27-foot triple to boost his team into a five-point edge with 54.6 seconds to play. The Rockets missed three more shots from behind the arc after that and Portland marched out of the arena with a very big win.

Melo has made a career of hitting game-winners and big shots in the clutch. And at the beginning of a career or near the end of one, he doesn’t believe you lose that rare ability to step up and make a shot with a game on the line.

“Honestly, I don’t think you lose that, right?” he said. “You have it. It’s something that you have to want to do. You have to be willing to put yourself in those situations -- enjoy those moments and take those shots and believe you can make those shots.

“Making those shots, not in an arrogant way, I’ve always enjoyed those moments.  And I still do enjoy that moment.  My teammates believe in me, to be able to get me the ball in those moments and all I have to do is deliver.

“And I’ve been doing that.”

Portland led most of the game, thanks to its size advantage inside. And even though the Trail Blazers went just 22-for-49 in the paint, their massive 64-39 rebound advantage and solid defensive job on Harden and Westbrook carried them to victory.

And at least for one NBA game, size mattered.

Instant Analysis: Blazers snap Russell Westbrook's streak en route to victory

Instant Analysis: Blazers snap Russell Westbrook's streak en route to victory

Tuesday night, the Trail Blazers took advantage of their height against the small-ball lineup of the Houston Rockets.

Portland dominated on the glass from start to finish.

The Trail Blazers held a 29-24 lead after the first quarter thanks to their inside-out offense. As a team Portland started the game shooting 45.8 percent from the field, which included hitting 4-of-9 from three. The Blazers also recorded 20 rebounds in the first 12 minutes of action. That was just one way that Portland exploited Houston’s small-ball lineup.

The Trail Blazers success to slow down both James Harden and Russell Westbrook was a team effort with Damian Lillard getting the early defensive assignment on Harden. Gary Trent Jr. spent time defending the duo early on as well. The Blazers also ran two players at Harden.

At the half, Portland was up 61-56. As a team, the Blazers outrebounded the Rockets in the first half, 37-15 with nine of those 37 rebounds (a season-high) coming on the offensive glass.

The Rockets went 11-of-28 from deep in the first half in comparison to the Blazers’ 7-of-16 shooting from three.

Harden picked up his fifth foul midway through the third quarter. Harden finished with 23 points in 33 minutes of play.

Russell Westbrook was limited to just 15 points, as well. His streak of scoring 20+ points in a game was snapped at 36 games. 

Down the stretch, Carmelo Anthony came up big on the defensive end and then drained a three to help the Blazers take a 107-102 with just over 42 seconds remaining. 

FINAL BOX SCORE: TRAIL BLAZERS 110, ROCKETS 102

Here are three quick takeaways from Portland's third seeding game from our NBC Sports NW team:

Dwight Jaynes, Insider: 

 The Blazers went inside to hurt Houston all night but won it with a couple of clutch three pointers

Jamie Hudson, Reporter

This was a fun one. Just as expected the three-pointers were flying as soon as the game tipped off. But unlike in previous matchups where Blazers head coach Terry Stotts would adjust his lineup to fit his opponents’ lineup, Coach Stotts stood pat on his decision to stick with the big lineup of starting Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins alongside each other. And it worked out nicely. The Blazers bigs had a good two-man game working throughout the night. Plus, they got it done on the glass just as one would expect.

As for Gary Trent Jr., he continued to make noise on both ends in these seeding games, especially in the first half. Trent Jr. and CJ McCollum led the Blazers at the break with 13 points apiece.

Mike Richman, Reporter

At times it was ugly, as the Blazers seemed committed to missing layups for four full quarters. But in the end Portland stuck to its "Anyone But James Harden" plan and earned a massively important win as they chase down the eighth seed.

[You can listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast here with special guest Bill Walton]:

  

Up Next: The Trail Blazers face the Denver Nuggets for a 5:00p.m. tip-off Thursday. Catch all the action on NBC Sports Northwest and stream the game on the MyTeams app.

Also, be sure to check back throughout the rest of the night and tomorrow morning for analysis, articles, and videos from the players!

Gary Trent Jr.'s pregame fit is just like his game... ON FIRE!

Gary Trent Jr.'s pregame fit is just like his game... ON FIRE!

There’s no doubt that Trail Blazers backup wing Gary Trent Jr. has made the most of his opportunity this season.

Between his defense, his ability to knock down big shots, and the confidence he exudes on both ends has put Trent Jr. on the map this season, especially during this NBA restart.

He’s getting noticed all over the NBA world, not just in Rip City.

[RELATED]: Gary Trent Jr. has been a star in the bubble

And with Tuesday’s pregame fit, he looks like he’s about to take over the NBA world.  

Yep, definitely, “no shirt, no problems” here.

Also, where can we get this fire jacket!?

[Listen to the latest Talkin’ Blazers Podcast as special guest Bill Walton joins hosts Channing Frye and Dan Sheldon]: 

 

It’s pretty fitting that Trent Jr. is wearing such a fire fit tonight ahead of the Blazers showdown against the Houston Rockets.  

Houston fans are concerned that GT could go off on them.

 

Trent Jr. is averaging 19 points through these first two seeding games.

Trail Blazers fans are loving his game and now they’re really loving his pregame attire.

Snoop Dogg and Carmelo Anthony reminisced about Kobe on ‘What’s In Your Glass’

Snoop Dogg and Carmelo Anthony reminisced about Kobe on ‘What’s In Your Glass’

The loss of NBA legend Kobe Bryant at the beginning of this year was a tough pill to swallow for not just NBA fans, but sports in general.

The sports world moaned the loss of one of the greatest basketball players this world has ever seen. Every basketball player, from the NBA to the rest of the world, showed how much the Mamba meant to them and their careers in basketball.

[Listen to the latest Talking’ Blazers Podcast with hosts Channing Frye and Dan Sheldon!]

One Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony shared an intimate post about Bryant and how much meant to as a mentor.

Another person who also showed great admiration and love for Kobe is none other than Los Angeles legendary rapper, Snoop Dogg.

And on a recent sit down with Carmelo Anthony on ‘What’s In Your Glass’, the two had a chance to reminisce on the legacy and friendship they both had with Kobe Bryant.

Snoop opened up the conversation about Bryant on how Snoop saw the parallel between the two and their careers through the years, and how over their years as their friendship grew, they were able to congratulate  one another as they continued to succeed.

 When we would see each other, it would be more congratulations about me seeing his highlights and him telling me about my highlights. So those were moments that I could celebrate my highlights because one of my friends and one of the guys I looked up to on the basketball court appreciated what I’d done as much as I appreciated him, and we had no problem saying it to one another.

Snoop then flips the script and asks Anthony what it was like having Bryant on the 2008 “Redeem Team” days, and how they had the veterans back as much as he had theirs.

“He was the older guy you know he was was the OG on the team,” Melo said on Kobe, “With us, we just knew we had to have his back.”

Bryant’s death seems like it happened yesterday for a lot of people. It might still not register to everyone just yet.

It is, however, great to see that two people from two different backgrounds can come together and share there favorite stories of when Kobe Bryant was still here with us.

If you would like to watch the full conversation with Snoop Dogg on Carmelo Anthony’s ‘What’s In Your Glass’ you can watch it here.

Rest in peach Kobe & Gianna Bryant. 

Forever.

[Listen to the latest Talking’ Blazers Podcast with hosts Channing Frye and Dan Sheldon!]