So do the Trail Blazers now rest their key players or chase a higher seed?

So do the Trail Blazers now rest their key players or chase a higher seed?

So now what?

With the homecourt advantage and the No. 4 seed in the West wrapped up Tuesday night in Los Angeles, do the Trail Blazers rest their regulars Wednesday night in Moda Center vs. the Sacramento Kings, or do they chase the No. 3 seed?

The best chance of getting the higher seed would probably require playing the starters, rather than giving them an obligatory game off at the end of the season. For a few of the Trail Blazers, I’d advocate a night off.

But the No. 3 seed could possibly mean a first-round matchup vs. San Antonio, depending on results of other games Wednesday night. Certainly the Spurs would appear to be a more advantageous opponent for Portland than Utah, which would be the opposition if the Blazers settle for the fourth seed. But there are no guarantees which team would be there.

And of course it’s always possible Coach Terry Stotts could put together a lineup Wednesday night without some of his key players that would still beat the Kings.

Stotts would not tip his hand Tuesday night about his plans.

“I’m not talking about that tonight,” he said.

It’s almost become customary in the NBA these days to sit premier players in these sorts of situations. In fact, some players see it as something of a status symbol. But most of them would never publicly ask for the rest game.

Who would I rest?

I’d start with Damian Lillard, who has looked tired since the recent four-game trip that concluded with the game at Minnesota, and CJ McCollum, who probably shouldn’t be playing back-to-back games coming off his knee injury. Seth Curry has become an important scorer and has had some aches and pains lately – I think I’d rest him, too.

And honestly, any other player who wants a day off, I’d be easy to convince. You can talk about homecourt and seeding all you want, but the health of your players always has to come first. And taking a tired team into the playoffs is a recipe for disaster, homecourt or not.

I’d want them rested and ready. As you might expect, the players had no interest in taking a side Tuesday.

“Our focus has been to get homecourt,” Lillard said. “And tonight we did that. We’ll worry about tomorrow, tomorrow.”

The Blazer win over the Lakers was accomplished thanks to Maurice Harkless’s three-point shot at the buzzer. It was the only three-pointer Portland’s starting forwards hit in seven attempts.

Harkless was asked about the possible courses of action Wednesday night.

“We’ve all thought about it. But we’re not fixated on it. We’ll see what happens tomorrow,” Harkless said. “Coach has a couple of decisions to make and so we’ll just do whatever he feels comfortable doing.”

Enes Kanter's comments on Zion Williamson don't sit well with Julius Randle

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Enes Kanter's comments on Zion Williamson don't sit well with Julius Randle

Trail Blazers center Enes Kanter is known for being outspoken.

He’s been a longtime critic of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his authoritarian policies. Now, he’s speaking out about No. 1 pick Zion Williamson.

"I kind of feel like he's overhyped like he's Julius Randle with hops," Kanter told Colin Cowherd on his radio show The Herd on Wednesday.

Apparently Kanter’s red-hot take on Williamson did not sit well with Randle, who fired back in a post on Twitter.

Randle isn’t wrong. In a loss to the Trail Blazers in March, Randle did drop 45 points on Portland, but scored only two of those against Kanter out of six possessions.

It wasn’t enough to give the Pelicans a win, and Kanter made sure to point this out in his response.

While Kanter’s strong opinion of Williamson didn’t sit well with Randle, it wasn’t all shade.

"If he develops his shot, he definitely could become a Hall of Famer,” Kanter said of Williamson. “It's all in his hands. He just needs to put the work in and go out there and show the whole world."

The Scoop: Will Rodney Hood be back on the Blazers roster next season? What’s your gut feeling...

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The Scoop: Will Rodney Hood be back on the Blazers roster next season? What’s your gut feeling...

A new rookie.

A new player.

A new Scoop.

Also, what about new contracts?

It’s time to get all of this week’s Trail Blazers news in one place! The Scoop livestream on Facebook presented by Toyota of Portland is back for the summer!

On Wednesday afternoon, Trail Blazers reporter and the host of The Scoop Jamie Hudson had plenty to discuss with draft night in the rearview mirror, along with a Blazers big trade this week.

Also, special guest Justin Meyers, host of ‘The Bridge" on NBC Sports Northwest, joins The Scoop.

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

Wednesday morning, Trail Blazers GM Neil Olshey and head coach Terry Stotts introduced the newest Trail Blazer: Kent Bazemore. On The Scoop, we breakdown the press conference and how Bazemore is going to fit in nicely with the Blazers.  

Plus, Jamie puts Justin on the spot, asking him if he believes that unrestricted free agent Rodney Hood will be back in a Blazers uniform next season?

Other Scoop topics include:

-Blazers extend qualifying offer to Jake Layman making him a restricted free agent

-Should Rip City be concerned about Nassir Little’s shooting woes?

-More free agency chatter: What’s going to happen to Enes Kanter?

-What to expect out of Anfernee Simons in his second-year?

-How nice was Simons to give up No. 24 for Bazemore!?!?

That and so much more.

Watch the FULL EPISODE right here:

Summer Scoop

It’s time to talk Little, Layman, and Bazemore and that’s just in the first five mins! Plus, Justin Meyers, host of ‘The Bridge’ joins The Scoop for the first time! The Scoop brought to you by Toyota of Portland starts right now!

Posted by NBC Sports Northwest on Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Lights, camera, action: Kent Bazemore makes his Rip City debut

Lights, camera, action: Kent Bazemore makes his Rip City debut

Kent Bazemore is officially a Portland Trail Blazer.

The forward-guard got his first taste of Rip City on Wednesday in an introductory press conference with reporters. Bazemore, who was acquired via a trade with the Atlanta Hawks on Monday, sat next to general manager Neil Olshey and head coach Terry Stotts and let his new team know he’s ready to compete.

"I'm excited to have them as allies now,” Bazemore said. “The culture here is great. I'm here to continue to move the franchise in the right direction and that's winning a championship. It's like the first time you meet your wife, it just fits your eyes.”

Stotts said Bazemore’s athleticism and versatility will be an asset for Portland, as he has skills on both ends of the floor.

"Guys like Kent have a way of impacting the game on their own, whether it’s defensively or rebounding or getting out in the lane or a timely three,” Stotts said. "I think he fills a lot of those things we’re looking for at the offensive end and defensively he can guard three different positions. I think his versatility will help us.”

Watch the video above to see Bazemore’s action-packed first day, which included exclusive interviews with Trail Blazers insider Dwight Jaynes and Rip City Drive’s Chad Doing and Jay Allen.

Report: Blazers one of three teams interested in Enes Kanter

Report: Blazers one of three teams interested in Enes Kanter

Enes Kanter was acquired off of waivers late last season and quickly became a fan favorite in Rip City. He was a key big off the bench, and when Jusuf Nurkic went down with a gruesome leg injury, he was tasked with playing the starting center role on a team trying to lock in home court. 

He filled the role magnificently and was a huge reason the Blazers were able to make an improbable run to the Western Conference Finals. 

But now he enters the free-agent market and the Blazers may not have the money to keep him around. However, that isn't going to stop them from trying. 

According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, the Trail Blazers are one of three teams said to be showing interest in Kanter.

The free agent signing period starts at 6 p.m ET on June 30th.  However, the Blazers will have a large hurdle in front of them - lack of cap space. 

The Blazers don't have any, and will only be allowed the taxpayer mid-level exception (TPMLE) to sign free agents with. The TPMLE is said to be worth around $5.7 million, which could be far below Kanter's open market value. Even if that is Kanter's value, the Blazers would have to decide if they want to pursue Kanter or fellow Portland free agents Rodney Hood and Seth Curry. 

If Kanter were to resign with the Blazers it would be a huge get, especially since there is no timetable for the return of starting center Jusuf Nurkic. Nurkic broke his leg against the Nets late in the season, and most people expect him to miss a large chunk of the upcoming season. For a team fresh off a deep playoff run, having a stopgap to help ease the pain while he recovers would be extremely valuable. 

The Blazers do have Zach Collin, Meyers Leonard, and Skal Labissiere on the roster, but Kanter would still be a smart free agent play. He adds depth in both the long term and short term, and certainly help the Blazers keep pace with last season's success until Nurkic is healthy. 

For what it's worth, the Lakers are also showing interest and Kanter is currently in Los Angeles... 

But he was there holding one of his 30 free basketball camps this summer. So chalk this one up to coincidence. 

Stay tuned to NBC Sports Northwest for all the latest free agent news as we approach the June 30th start date. 

The grit and fit is what Kent Bazemore brings to Trail Blazers

The grit and fit is what Kent Bazemore brings to Trail Blazers

Bringing in high character players and those charismatic locker room guys who easily fit in Blazers head coach Terry Stotts’ system, has been the main mission of how the Trail Blazers current roster is constructed and how it’s been constructed over the past few seasons. And it's been working.

Kent Bazemore is one such guy who fits the Blazers mold.

Moreover, Bazemore understands how he’ll fit in with Portland. 

“The culture here is great. I’m here to continue moving the franchise in the right direction, that’s winning a championship. I watched them all last postseason, it’s like the first time you see your wife, it just fits your eye. I’m excited to be here and looking forward to getting after it,” Bazemore said at his introductory news conference on Wednesday.

In 2016, the Blazers were looking at Bazemore in free agency before he re-signed with his current team at the time, the Atlanta Hawks.

Three years later Portland got their man who can come in as a supportive role player both on and off the court.

“We’re really excited to have Kent here. His style of play is going to fit in perfectly,” Neil Olshey said on Wednesday.

Bazemore, the soon-to-be 30-year-old, is excited to play in front of the Trail Blazers fan base. He reminisced on how the Moda Center crowd was always rocking when he came in as an opponent.

“It’s just such a good environment. I think they understand the game of basketball,” Bazemore said of Trail Blazers fans.

And by the sounds of it, Rip City is going to be a big fan of Bazemore.

Even though Bazemore is ready to contribute on the offensive end, it’s his gritty defense that has gotten him where he is today.

He brought up PJ Tucker and Andre Iguodala and how – “they just stand in the background and do the dirty work,” and that’s what Bazemore is here in Portland to do. 

“Not a lot of people like to do it, so if you do it well, you stand out,” Bazemore said with a smile. “It takes effort and I like making it easier on my teammates. If I can make it tough on other teams' best players, then I feel like I’ve done my job.”

Bazemore has had a long relationship with Damian Lillard since the two came into the league at the same time in 2012.

“[Dame’s] a mid-major guy, so is CJ [McCollum], and I am as well. I think we all have that kind of, that chip, he plays with an enormous chip on his shoulder and that’s something I would love to play for, go to battle with every night. He and CJ really are the best backcourt in all of basketball.”

“I think it’s a solid position for me to come in and do what I do best,” Bazemore added.

Coach Stotts believes Bazemore’s versatility will be key to the team’s success.

“I think the athleticism that he brings to the roster is important… Guys like Kent have a way of impacting games on their own, whether it’s defensively, or rebounding, or getting out in the lane or a timely three. I think he just fills a lot of those things that we are looking for at the offensive end.

“He’s going to find his way on the court and his going to be affective when he is there,” Stotts said with confidence.

Bazemore concurs with his new coach.

“I look at myself as a plug and play [guy]. I really don’t see myself missing a beat here. The style fits great. I just want to make the guys jobs easier, running the ball, slashing, getting back to what I was doing, running the lane. There’s not too many people that can keep up with that for a real long time,” Bazemore said.

The Trail Blazers culture and team chemistry, especially the supportive second unit, is something that Bazemore says can make you jealous of when you're on the outside looking in.

“It definitely makes you jealous. You’ve got the guys running off the bench, greeting their guys and you can see them locked in the entire game, cheering them on. That does a lot. My career first started on the bench with the Golden State Warriors, waving a towel the entire game. You see how it benefits your teammates,” Bazemore said.

Bazemore nodded his head in agreement with Olshey as the Blazers GM spoke on the stability and continuity of the roster.

“I’m a huge proponent of continuity. My first year in Atlanta we won 60 games, but then guys kind of trickled out after that you kind see the affects… It’s important to keep your guys around that have been around. You look at a team like Toronto, obviously, they made a big move bringing in Kawhi [Leonard], but a lot of those guys had already been there. Kyle Lowry was a staple. He was a leader and that team reflected that. So... Dame and CJ, you keep those guys here…  Nurkic, he just came here, but he has fit in so perfectly. I think all those guys blend together and that alone will attract the right people to come,” Bazemore said.  

It wasn’t just that Bazemore went undrafted in 2012, it was also persevering through his rookie season when he played just 4.4 minute per game in 61 games played.

“I was ranked 499 out of 500 [players] my rookie season by ESPN. There was a joke that was there: dead guys in front of me," Bazemore joked. “So you know, when you start in places like that and you work your way up, it’s almost like you’ve cracked some type of code."

Kent Bazemore is "going to take care of" Anfernee Simons for changing his jersey number

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Kent Bazemore is "going to take care of" Anfernee Simons for changing his jersey number

On Monday, the Trail Blazers traded for Atlanta Hawks veteran wing Kent Bazemore.

The following day, it was announced that Trail Blazers second-year guard Anfernee Simons changed his jersey number to No. 1, thus making Bazemore’s number he has had his entire career, No. 24, available.

On Wednesday morning at Bazemore’s introductory news conference, he publicly announced how much he appreciates Simons changing his number.

Bazemore did not talk to Simons previously before the number change occurred, and he doesn’t know how Simons went about changing his number, but he is not going to let that gesture go unnoticed.

“I’m going to take care of him for that,” Bazemore said of Simons.

Bazemore went on to say with a smirk, “Twenty-four is a number that I’ve had since before Kobe [Bryant], by the way.”

There’s no doubt that No. 24 has great significance to the newest Trail Blazer.

“I’ve had that number since I was 12 or 13 years old, so it’s been with me for a very long time. It means a lot to me. You know, a 24-second shot clock, 24-hours in a day, and my mom and me are 24 years apart, so there’s a lot that goes into,” Bazemore said.

Bazemore will turn 30-years old on Monday. He is grateful for the 20-year-old giving up his number. Bazemore agreed that Simons ‘s gesture was a sign of “respect.”

“Big props to that. I’m going to be looking out for him all season,” Bazemore added.    

But really, it’s a win-win for both Bazemore and Simons because Simons will now wear No. 1, which is very fitting since his namesake Anfernee ‘Penny’ Hardaway wore No. 1 during his NBA heydays.

Outsiders Blog: Goodbye, ET

Outsiders Blog: Goodbye, ET

News broke early Monday afternoon that the Portland Trail Blazers had agreed to trade Evan Turner to the Atlanta Hawks in return for Kent Bazemore. After three full seasons in Portland, Turner's time in Rip City has come to an end. While he may not have been everything fans wanted on the court, off of it he was in a class of his own. A social media icon, and locker room leader, Evan Turner was well-liked and highly respected. Now Rip City has to move on without him, and he has to move on without Rip City. Our Blazers Outsiders gave us their thoughts on the departure of ET.


“That’s my bread, and I earned my bread.” (via The Athletic)

Evan Turner came to Portland on a fluffy contract, which effectively divided the fan base into two camps: the “this guy is overpaid and underperforming” camp, and the “this guy’s social media presence alone is worth it” camp. Me? I’m in the second camp. I’ve been here since the beginning. Actually, I’ve been *glamping* here, babe. Straight chillin’. Now, the fire has died and the s’mores are gone, and all I’m left with is just...

...the most entertaining Instagram and Twitter
accounts the NBA has to offer.

The squirrel feeding saga. Icing his forehead with a chain. Refusing to pay the parking meter because he “already pays Uncle Sam enough in taxes.” Stuck in the elevator. “If they liked me, I liked them”, referring to his high school love life on the Road Trippin’ Podcast. Trolling teammates on the plane. The fits, I mean the absolute drippity fits. The list goes on, and it will continue to go on, because I will never unfollow Evan Turner. There is no other NBA player as charismatic, hilarious, entertaining and real as ET.

Plenty can be said of Evan Turner’s emergence as a solid (and what proved to be series-saving) second unit leader for the Blazers this season. He knew how to spread the floor, find the open man, get creative with assists and facilitate an offense that could stay afloat long enough to give Dame some much-needed rest. The dude saved us in that playoff game- if you know, then you know.

That’s not what I will remember most about the man who secured a spot on my Trail Blazers Mount Rushmore. Posting up is cool or whatever, but the man could POST. On social media. Do you get it?

“Thanks for the cheese.” (via @evanturner’s IG post)

Evan Turner made a sandwich out of what Portland gave him, but I hope his next adventure in Atlanta gets him the chip with the dip, too. Whatever the hell that means.


From an on the court perspective, I love the trade. Turner was good on defense, ran the second unit well as the point guard, but his inability to hit shots from deep would handicap the Blazers offense at times. Bazemore, on the other hand, is also good on the defensive end but hits the deep ball at a much higher clip (career 35.2% compared to Turners 29.6%).

It's the things Turner did off the court and in the locker room that will be hard to fill. Turner has always been a team-first guy. He's well-liked in every city he has ever stopped in. Fans love his personality, his grit, and teammates just loved playing with him. He was a glue guy, and while Damian Lillard gets all the credit as the leader of the Blazers, Turner's contributions to the team's culture in Rip City can't go unnoticed. If Lillard was the ship's captain, Turner was the first mate.

He was the guy in the locker room that made sure everyone was focused, yet light-hearted, and kept everything even-keeled. He didn't need to play 40 minutes a night to be happy, he just wanted his team to win. Not everyone is like that.

Again, strictly from an on-court perspective, this is an upgrade for the Blazers. But don't go and act like Turner isn't a one-of-a-kind dude who will be sorely missed in that locker room. On the plus side, we still get this funny dude on social media! THANKS FOR THE LAUGHS. #NamingMyDogET


Where do I start.... pours out adult beverage onto the carpet.

It's been a hell of ride here in Portland. As a content creator and social media addict myself, I can wholeheartedly say that I bow down to the social media KING that is Evan Turner. He busted his ass on the court and was an incredible teammate to both the young guys and the fellow veterans.

However, what I'll remember most about ET is his personality. Get that guy a TV show the minute he retires. Hell, anytime you're back in Portland you have a free invite to come run the show on Blazers Outsiders. There's something to be said about a guy who is literally liked by every single, former, and current teammate he has played with. Attitude, a sense of humor, and overall relatability goes a long way in the NBA.

I guarantee you that ET will get some of the loudest cheers a returning former Trail Blazer has ever gotten in the Moda Center. Keep up those ridiculously amazing fits in Atlanta. See you on the timeline.

Roy Williams: Nassir Little is “the most explosive player I’ve ever coached”

Roy Williams: Nassir Little is “the most explosive player I’ve ever coached”

Three National Championships and 29 NCAA Tournament appearances. Two-time AP Coach of the Year (1992, 2006). 1997 Naismith Coach of the Year. Rocks a suit with Air Jordan’s on his feet. A fan of Sprite Zero and 69 years of age. This is North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams. 

Williams has been leading the Tar Heels since 2003 and currently holds a 453-133 (.773%) record. He has coached players such as Tyler Hansbrough, Ty Lawson, Danny Green, Greg Little, Harrison Barnes, and many more who went on to pursue their NBA dreams. It is one of the most established NCAA college basketball universities in the country. It has a signature color and a rich history. And the engine that keeps the Tar Heel train moving? Roy Williams. 

Williams joined The Brian Noe Show on Tuesday afternoon to talk about Nassir Little, the outstanding freshman out of UNC, that the Portland Trail Blazers selected with the 25th pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. 


No one expected Little to slide down as far as No. 25. The announcers kept talking about “best available” and the cameras kept showing his face as Little had to wait and wait and wait and wait…. 

But it’s not necessarily when you get drafted, but by which team.

“I think it’s a great situation. He’s going with a team that’s really good and has a chance to even get a little bit better,” says Williams. “It will be something that will be upsetting to him and might bother him for a long time, but it’s a great situation to just look at ‘OK, you’re going to be drafted by Portland’ and don’t say a number on it. If I’m Nassir little, I feel really, really good and I think he does.”


The numbers don’t lie: Nassir Little’s shooting percentage is not stellar. In his one and only season with the Tar Heels, Little averaged 9.8 points per game, .770% from the FT line, and a .269 three-point percentage.

“There is nothing wrong with his form,” says Williams. “All it’s got to be is a lot of repetition. He’ll be one of those guys in the NBA that won’t just go to their hour and a half shoot around and leave, he’ll go early, get in the weight room… and shoot some more.”

WATCH: Nassir Little: “I’m going to show everybody that Nassir Little can shoot”

READ: “Trail Blazers reporter Jamie Hudson believes Nassir Little is ‘a steal of a deal’ for Portland”


You heard it all night long. You heard it the next day. Nassir Little was the “steal of the draft.”

Little is indeed a top-10 talent that fell into the Blazers’ hands last Thursday night. He is relentless, a great teammate, a 3-and-D type guy, and was already repping the Portland colors on draft night. 

As Little was sitting at his table on draft night waiting for his name to be called, dreaming of putting on that NBA hat, Roy Williams was thinking of him. Once his name was called, Williams grabbed his phone and texted Little the following message:

“The biggest steal ever. Now you’ve got a chip on your shoulder again. You can prove people wrong.

“It could go down as one of Portland’s greatest draft days ever.”

Simple and yet so powerful. The pick even shocked Portland All-Star guard Damian Lillard:

“He’s a steal for sure…”

Trail Blazers reporter Jamie Hudson believes Nassir Little is ‘a steal of a deal’ for Portland

Trail Blazers reporter Jamie Hudson believes Nassir Little is ‘a steal of a deal’ for Portland

Heading into the 2019 NBA Draft, mock drafts forecasted North Carolina’s highly-touted freshman Nassir Little to be picked somewhere in the 10-15 range.

Portland Trail Blazers reporter Jamie Hudson, who had diligently researched the team’s possible picks, believed Little would be selected somewhere between pick 11 and 14.

But during the 2019 NBA Draft on June 20, Little slid down the draft board and the Trail Blazers jumped at the opportunity to select the former Tar Heel with their first-round pick at No. 25.

“The fact that he landed in the Blazers lap at No. 25, I really agree with all the people out there saying he’s a steal of a deal,” Hudson told Brian Noe of The Noe Show. 

Little has been praised for his intriguing athleticism, but many believe his draft stock slipped due to his lackluster three-point shooting. The long and athletic forward shot 47.8 percent from the field at UNC, but made only 14-of-52 threes and failed to show his abilities as a perimeter threat.

Hudson, however, believes that Little’s got an arsenal of three-point shots ready to be released.

“Fans are all concerned, he can’t shoot the three,” Hudson said. “This is a guy who used to love to play a lot of pick up games and he wanted to take it to the rim because he could. He’s an athletic build, he’s got the height, so he was dominating in that way.”

She continued: “He just needs to get the reps. So I still believe that Nassir Little can definitely be a valuable 3-and-D guy in the NBA.”

While the Trail Blazers sole draft pick has a lot to prove in his first season, Little has shown that he’s ready to prove the naysayers wrong.

[READ MORE: Nassir Little goes from supportive family to supportive brotherhood with Trail Blazers]