Trail Blazers have longest standing win streak in the NBA!

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USATI

Trail Blazers have longest standing win streak in the NBA!

Just another day at the office for the Portland Trail Blazers who's winning streak has now reached nine games. The Blazers dynamic duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum led the way tonight (58 combined points) while Kevin Durant (40 points) tried to keep the Curry-less Warriors in the game. Up next, the Blazers host the Miami Heat on Monday night at 7:30pm.

Box Score: Portland 125, Golden State 108

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Report: Shabazz Napier signs two-year deal with Brooklyn Nets

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Report: Shabazz Napier signs two-year deal with Brooklyn Nets

Free-agent guard Shabazz Napier has agreed to a two-year deal with the Brooklyn Nets, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

The terms of the deal were not initially reported.

Napier, who turned 27 on Saturday, averaged a career-best 8.7 points in 20 minutes a game last season.

He joins former Trail Blazers Ed Davis and Allen Crabbe in Brooklyn and will join the a guard rotation that includes D'Angelo Russell, Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris.

Napier will be on his fourth team in five seasons, spending two seasons in Portland, one in Orlando and one with the Miami Heat, where he was drafted 24th overall in the 2014 NBA Draft.

SI's Ben Golliver liking Blazer rookies and Collins' progression

SI's Ben Golliver liking Blazer rookies and Collins' progression

I caught up with SI's Ben Golliver, formerly of BlazersEdge, to get his thoughts on the current status of the Trail Blazers. 

In the video above, Golliver talks about the transformation Zach Collins has made from Year 1 to Year 2. 

Click below to hear his thoughts on the new rookies showing out at Summer League plus a bonus video with his thoughts on Seth Curry!

VIDEO: GOLLIVER ON ROOKIES

Golliver: I've always thought Seth Curry was underrated

Blazers rookie Anfernee Simons showing patience and explosiveness

Blazers rookie Anfernee Simons showing patience and explosiveness

LAS VEGAS – The Portland Trail Blazers continue to cruise in Summer League, while rookie Anfernee Simons has been showing poise and is becoming more comfortable on the floor at the next level.

There had yet to be a so-called 'breakout game' for Simons in pool play, but in the first game of tournament action that all changed.

In Tuesday’s matchup, Simons finished the night with 20 points on 6-of-10 shooting as the Blazers defeated the Hawks 95-69 to move on to the Quarterfinals. Simons hit 3-of-7 from deep and also pulled down four rebounds in the win.

After playing in his fourth summer league contest, Simons has been getting a better feel of how his game can work in the Blazers schemes, “I just try to play my game and let the game come to me,” Simons said.

The 19-year-old has been getting a lot of feedback over the first four Summer League games. The coaching staff has told him to, “keep playing how you’ve been playing, make sure defense comes first. They want me to learn the defense before the offense. They know I can score the ball,” Simons said.

For being such a young player with no experience against NBA caliber guys until now, Simons is not a guy who is turnover prone. During Summer League, he is averaging just 0.8 turnovers and that’s while getting valuable minutes running point. 

Yet for the most part, Blazers Summer League Coach Jim Moran has decided to have Simons come off the ball. Moran spoke highly of the rookie after pool play ended.

“I think he’s a lot further along than I had anticipated… He’s shown that he can handle ball pressure and not get sped up and out of control,” Moran said.

As for the other end of the ball, it’s hard for Trail Blazer fans to not be concerned about Simons’ size at 6’4, 183 lbs.

Coach Moran has been focusing on Simons' defensive effort and him not getting pushed around, “Defensively he was guarding high school kids, now he’s guarding Euro guys and NBA guys and vets, so him not getting bullied and pushed around has been impressive to see as well.”

For Simons, that has been his main goal, making sure to take advantage of the guy you are guarding.

“I start off playing defense as hard as I can and let the offense come to me," Simons said.

Trail Blazers shooting guard CJ McCollum was in attendance on Thursday night, getting his first look at the rookies.

“For Anfernee to be so young, he has good patience, he’s really explosive, he can make shots, creates shots,” McCollum said.

Ben Golliver of Si.com got his first look at Simons on Thursday night as well.  Golliver feels Simons looks pretty composed for a youngster, “Everyone is coming in and saying he’s so small, he’s so young, to me he looks really polished for a guy who is coming straight out of high school.” 

After watching Simons against the Hawks, Golliver could see why the Blazers had their eye on Simons. “You saw the confidence and just a level of skill, that’s probably why Neil Olshey wanted to draft him in the first round,” Golliver said.

Many fans in Portland, have wondered how a kid from IMG Academy can make such a big leap to the next level. Simons is one of eight alumni drafted into the NBA since 2005. Erick Dampier and Michael Beasly are the most recongizable names.

We all know you can't take away too much from Summer League. There have been plenty of players who have looked like dominant superstars and didn't amount to much and vice versa, but there’s still a lot of value in getting game minutes.

“Whenever you get a chance to play game minutes regardless of the level of competition it’s helpful. Learning the offense, figuring out where players are going to be at, getting game reps in terms of shots and closeouts, I think it’s very helpful and guys are taking advantage of their time.” McCollum said.

Simons and Portland can continue to take advantage of their time as they advance to the Summer League Quarterfinals.  The Blazers will play the winner of the Miami-Boston game on Sunday evening at 5pm.

 

 

 

The Scoop: Trail Blazers red hot and rollin' at NBA Summer League

The Scoop: Trail Blazers red hot and rollin' at NBA Summer League

It was just another day at the office for the Trail Blazers NBA Summer League team who racked up a fourth win and advanced to the quarterfinals on Sunday. 

Check out our Scoop postgame show below where we talk about Simons and Collins plus a look at CJ McCollum's new shoe release, and of course I'm taking your questions throughout the live stream!

Summer League Scoop Postgame

The Blazers are moving on! Next up— the Quarterfinals after Portland beat Atlanta tonight, 95-68 #RipCity

Posted by NBC Sports Northwest on Thursday, July 12, 2018

Getting ready for tonight's Trail Blazers NBA Summer League Tournament Game

Getting ready for tonight's Trail Blazers NBA Summer League Tournament Game

LAS VEGAS - The Trail Blazers get started with the tournament portion of NBA Summer League tonight with a 7:30pm tip-off against the Atlanta Hawks. The Blazers went 3-0 in pool play and snagged the #2 seed for the tournament. 

We'll get you all primed for Summer League action with The Bridge from 6-7pm and then Trail Blazers Outsiders from 7-7:30pm. 

Plus you can watch The Scoop live streaming on Facebook at 7:15pm from Las Vegas inside Thomas and Mack arena.

After the game, keep it locked right here at NBCSportsNorthwest.com for full postgame coverage including highlights, interviews with the players and coaches, plus a special guest apperance from SI's Ben Golliver. 

And be sure to follow me on Twitter, for updates throughout the game and for links to all the postgame coverage. 

WHEN TO WATCH:
7:30pm Tip-off on ESPN2

PREGAME:
6:00pm The Bridge on NBCS Northwest
7:00pm Trail Blazers Outsiders on NBCS Northwest
7:15pm The Scoop live on Facebook

QUICK LINKS:
Ducks and Beavers at NBA Summer League
Neil Olshey's thoughts from NBA Summer League
Jason Quick: Shooters Gotta Shoot
Is Gary Trent Jr. the real deal?

Following Megan and Kimby chasing their BlazerDancer dreams

Following Megan and Kimby chasing their BlazerDancer dreams

Every summer, the Trail Blazers are focusing on Summer League while the BlazerDancers are focusing on building a new team for the upcoming season.

Over the weekend, women and men from the Oregon dance community participated in the first day of BlazerDancers auditions, which included three rounds of cuts with different judges for each round.  The dancers had to quickly learn three routines and then perform them in front of the panel.

Prior to the first day of auditions, the BlazerDancers coaches hold pre-audition clinics in order to help everyone get more comfortable with the process.  The dancers are given feedback on what to work on before the real auditions begin.

Two dancers earned a ‘ticket’ to the finals at this year’s clinic after standing out to the coaches. Dancers Megan and Kimby earned their tickets and we got a chance to follow them through the process of day one auditions.

A total of thirty dancers are now moving onto the final round of auditions that will take place this weekend.

Good luck to Megan and Kimby and the rest of the dancers as they work to pursue their dream of making the 2018-19 BlazerDancers team.

Gary Trent Jr. continues to shoot, and impress, as Blazers stay undefeated

Gary Trent Jr. continues to shoot, and impress, as Blazers stay undefeated

LAS VEGAS –  There have been a lot of good storylines for the Trail Blazers after an undefeated run through the round-robin portion of the Las Vegas Summer League, but perhaps no story is gaining more momentum than the emergence of rookie Gary Trent Jr.

Trent on Tuesday had a team-high 20 points while making four three-pointers to lead the Blazers to a 95-89 win over San Antonio, helping Portland join Phoenix and Denver as the only 3-0 teams in Las Vegas. 

While the Blazers’ undefeated run has been directed by exceptional play from veteran point guard Wade Baldwin and steady scoring from veteran Jake Layman, Trent has been both consistently notable.

In the first game he made 9-of-9 free throws, in the second game he impressed the coaching staff with his defense, and Tuesday he was the leading force in helping the Blazers build leads as large as 22 points. 

Throughout, one thing has been noticeable: Trent is not afraid to shoot. 

Trent leads the Blazers with 36 shot attempts, and everyone – from Trent, to Baldwin, to coach Jim Moran – say more should, and will, come.

“Shooters shoot,’’ Trent said. “It’s what I do.’’

Moran said the coaching staff has had zero complaints about his shot selection.

“Right now in Summer League, he’s a big threat for us, he can make shots, we need him to make shots,’’ Moran said. “And the majority of his shots have been good. He’s not out here jacking bad threes or forcing stuff. Most of stuff he’s shooting is coming out the flow of our system, so I’m happy with it.’’

Trent has modest statistics through three games – 14.7 points, 2.7 rebounds and shooting percentages of 36.1 overall and 38.4 from three – but the players and coaches say it’s how he plays that stands out more than his stats.

Baldwin said Trent’s ability to get shots is diverse. He can use his size to get defenders off him and create separation, and he knows how to use screens and then be in a position to shoot.

“That’s a special talent,’’ Baldwin said.

Baldwin said he actually noticed Trent earlier this year when he watched Duke play Michigan State.

“He has great preparation before the shot,’’ Baldwin said. “He didn’t make a lot of shots in that game, but I could see the preparation and how he got the shots.’’

The big question now is how this translates to the big club, when the Blazers meet for training camp in September. Trent is a wing, but will likely play small forward at first, which is a position that currently has veterans Maurice Harkless, Evan Turner and Jake Layman on the depth chart.

Still, as Moran noted, shooting is shooting.

“I mean, if a guy can make shots, that’s something that definitely translates,’’ Moran said. “I think defensively you always worry about the rookies because physically they might not be there yet and they might not know the NBA game and defensive schemes. That’s something we are going to try and have to bring him up to speed. And I don’t decide playing time and rotations, but he has had a great Summer League. I’m happy with him.’’

Notes: Zach Collins did not play Tuesday because of a sprained right ankle suffered in Sunday’s game against Atlanta. Collins said he sprained the ankle twice in the game, but said he expects to play Thursday in the Blazers’ next game … Baldwin had another stellar game Tuesday and continues to apply a stranglehold on the bid for the 15throster spot, if the team decides to use it. He followed up his 10-assist game on Sunday with nine more against the Spurs to go along with 16 points and five steals. “He’s been phenomenal,’’ Moran said. “He’s getting guys in their spots, calling plays, playing defense … he’s just really growing into that point guard role. He’s been outstanding for us.’’

More struggles Tuesday from Georgios Papagiannis (1 point, 2 rebounds in 7 minutes) and Caleb Swanigan (five turnovers, 2-of-10 shooting). Papagiannis is competing with Baldwin for the final roster spot … Rookie Anfernee Simons started his first game and finished with 8 points on 4-of-13 shooting. 

 

Kermit Washington sentenced to six years in federal prison

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Kermit Washington sentenced to six years in federal prison

Kermit Washington, who played ten season in the NBA, including three for the Portland Trail Blazers, has been sentenced to six years in federal prison without parole for false tax returns and identity theft related to a charity fraud scheme. The full release from the Department of Justice is below. Washington is often best remembered for his punch at Rudy Tomjanovich in 1977.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A former professional basketball player was sentenced in federal court today on charges related to an extensive charity fraud scheme.

Kermit Alan Washington, 66, of Las Vegas, Nev., was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Greg Kays six years in federal prison without parole. The court also ordered Washington to pay $967,158 in restitution. Washington was taken into federal custody at the conclusion of today’s sentencing hearing.

“This former NBA player abused his fame and status to promote a charity scam by which he raised hundreds of thousands of dollars that he diverted to personal spending on lavish vacations, shopping sprees, and even plastic surgery for his girlfriend,” said Garrison. “Although he told his donors that 100 percent of all donations would go to support charitable work in Africa, including a medical clinic for needy families and HIV-positive children, in fact he spent most of the donated funds on himself. His fraud scheme also victimized law-abiding taxpayers by stealing from the public treasury rather than paying taxes owed.”

On Nov. 30, 2017, Washington pleaded guilty to two counts of filing a false tax return and one count of aggravated identity theft. Washington is among 11 defendants who have been convicted in several cases arising from the investigation of one of the largest software piracy schemes ever prosecuted by the U.S. Department of Justice. Investigators seized more than $20 million in assets from conspirators who are estimated to have sold in excess of $100 million worth of illicit, unauthorized and counterfeit software products to thousands of online customers.

eBay/PayPal Software Piracy Fraud Scheme

Washington’s charity, The Sixth Man Foundation, doing business as Project Contact Africa, operated an eBay store and used a PayPal account to facilitate payments. Approximately $12 million in items, including unauthorized, illicit, and counterfeit software and software components were sold on the Project Contact Africa eBay store.

In a separate but related case, Reza Davachi of Damascus, Md., pleaded guilty to a fraud scheme for abusing the benefits afforded a charity in these sales on Project Contact Africa’s eBay store.

Customers of the charity’s eBay store were under the impression that “100 percent” of the proceeds of sales were intended to go to the charity when, in fact, only a portion of the proceeds actually went to the charity. Washington admitted that he diverted funds from the charity’s bank account to pay himself or for personal spending, such as rent, credit card payments, vacation trips and plastic surgery for his then-girlfriend. Washington claimed to pay the rent and school fees for a family in Africa when, in fact, these payments were to a former prostitute, and rose and fell depending on their level of sexual intimacy.

By using the charity’s account to sell items through the eBay charity store, conspirators saved thousands of dollars per month that would have otherwise been paid to eBay in the form of various fees. As a result, eBay/PayPal sustained losses of approximately $908,231 due to the waived fees.

Workers’ Compensation Referral Scheme

Washington also admitted that he referred professional athletes to attorney Ronald Jack Mix, 80, of San Diego, Calif., so that Mix could file workers’ compensation claims in the state of California on behalf of the athletes. Mix then agreed to make donations to Washington’s charity.

Washington accepted approximately $155,000 in donations to his charity, which were actually illegal referral payments from Mix and his law firm. Washington diverted those funds from the charity’s bank account to pay himself or for personal spending. Washington admitted that he failed to account for this income to the charity on Project Contact Africa’s IRS filings during those years.

In a separate but related case, Mix pleaded guilty to filing a false tax return. Mix admitted that he made donations ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 for referrals of athletes, some of whom lived in the Western District of Missouri. Mix then claimed those payments as charitable contributions on his individual tax returns from 2010 to 2013. Mix was sentenced to time served and ordered to pay $49,543 in restitution.

False Tax Returns, Identity Theft

According to court documents, Washington diverted charity proceeds and failed to declare this income on federal income tax returns from 2010 to 2014. During this time, Washington also improperly claimed tens of thousands of dollars in personal charitable deductions. Washington’s additional tax due for his underreported income is $90,181. 

Additionally, Washington is assessed $876,977 in excess benefit taxes related to the payment of excess benefits to a disqualified person (the use of charity funds for personal purposes by an officer of a charity). Washington’s accumulated tax loss for 2010 through 2014 thus totals $976,158.

Washington specifically pleaded guilty to filing a materially false individual tax return on Feb. 18, 2014, and to filing a materially false Form 990-EZ for his tax-exempt organization on Aug. 20, 2012.

Washington also specifically pleaded guilty to using the name, personal address and business address of another person without lawful authority in numerous state and federal filings on behalf of the charity. The identity theft victim, identified in court documents as “T.G.”, was a resident of Oregon. Washington admitted that he used her identity information so that Project Contact Africa could maintain its active status within the state of Oregon, which enabled the charity to receive the charitable donations and to maintain the charity store on eBay.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Patrick Daly and Curt Bohling in the Western District of Missouri and Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan Raybould of the Middle District of Tennessee (formerly of the Department of Justice Tax Division). It was investigated by IRS-Criminal Investigation and Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

How and where to watch Blazers summer league game

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How and where to watch Blazers summer league game

The 2-0 Portland Trail Blazers are back in action today in the NBA Summer League vs. the San Antonio Spurs (1-1) at 1 PM (PT) on NBA TV in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The undefeated Blazers are coming off a 93-78 win over the Utah Jazz and a 85-68 win over the Atlanta Hawks.

Read: Blazers Improve to 2-0 at Summer League

Returning for his second Summer League with the Blazers, big man Caleb Swanigan is leading the Blazers in rebounds per game with 10.5. After a little taste towards the end of last season, Wade Baldwin, who is trying to earn a contract with Portland, is the second-leading scorer for the Blazers averaging 13.5 points per game and is second overall in Summer League in assists per game with 7.5 assists. Leading the way for Portland in scoring is Jake Layman, who is averaging 18.5 ppg and 5.0 rpg.

Read: 5 things we've learned so far in Summer League

Up next for the Blazers is the San Antonio Spurs (1-1). The Spurs are coming off a 10-point loss to the Indiana Pacers and a 95-90 win over the Washington Wizards. San Antonio has four players averaging in double figures: forwards Jaron Blossomgame (15.0 ppg) and Chimezie Metu (12.5 ppg), and guards Lonnie Walker IV (14.5 ppg) and Derrick White (11.5 ppg). 

If you don't have NBA TV or can't get to a TV, you can also stream the game on the ESPN App on your phone or tablet.

Quick Links:

ICYMI: Blazers impress in Summer League so far

Video: Lillard's rookie review: "I like what I see"

Video: Trent Jr., has some high praise for Wade Baldwin

Game Details:

Where:  Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, NV.

Tip-off: 1:00pm

Television: NBA TV

Stream: ESPN App.