Early thoughts on the Portland Trail Blazers 2019-2020 NBA Schedule

Early thoughts on the Portland Trail Blazers 2019-2020 NBA Schedule

The Trail Blazers will be welcoming three new players to their starting lineup this season after a summer of change resulted in Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum looking at an entirely new starting frontline from the one they played alongside during last season’s playoff run to the Western Conference finals.

And they will be getting to know their new teammates mostly on the road when the 2019-20 season begins.

[RELATED: Trail Blazers 2019-2020 NBA Schedule]

After a season-opening home opener against the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday, Oct. 23, the NBA schedule-makers are sending Portland on the road for four games at Sacramento, Dallas, San Antonio and Oklahoma City before returning to Portland for a game against the Philadelphia 76ers. Then it’s right back on the road for contests at Golden State (in that new arena in San Francisco) and the Los Angeles Clippers. So the new-look Blazers will open the season with six of their first eight games and 13 of their first 18 on the road.

But the end of the season is a different story. The Trail Blazers get five of their final six games at home, including the last contest of the season – the only home matchup against the Clippers all year.

And while Portland is not scheduled for a Christmas Day game this season, the Blazers are going to be all over the national-television schedule. The team will play 10 games on TNT, nine games on ESPN, including the home opener, and even once in a rare afternoon home game on ABC – a 12:30 p.m. contest March 15 vs. Houston. The Blazers were scheduled for five TNT games last season and six on ESPN.

The Blazers have two six-game road trips, one in late November and another in March. As usual, the schedule also includes a game that just wouldn’t fit on anyone’s logical itinerary. The Blazers begin a five-game trip on New Year’s Day in New York, then play at Washington, before moving to Miami, then Toronto and Minnesota. Packing for that trip will be interesting. Portland makes two trips to Florida – the opposite corner of the country – to meet that state’s two teams.

In another scheduling quirk, after that hard-fought, second-round playoff series vs. Denver last spring, the Blazers meet the Nuggets twice during the exhibition season and then open the season against them.

All in all, not a great schedule. But not a bad one, either. And a lot of new respect from the national television networks.

Social Media Roundup: The weekend that was for your Portland Trail Blazers

Anferfee Simons IG

Social Media Roundup: The weekend that was for your Portland Trail Blazers

It was an eventful weekend for your Portland Trail Blazers on social media. ICYMI, get all caught up right here:

Damian Lillard took to this twitter account to ask some questions coming off his third album release. Normally Dame fields the questions, but today he was asking!

As the conversation spun into his dual life as a basketball player and a rapper, we were treated to a throwback RT of last year's "training video" that was used to mock haters telling him to get in the gym more:

Even Jusuf Nurkic got in on the action. Who knew the Bosian Beast was a Taylor Swift fan?

Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum was back home doing some work for a kids camp and surely wasn't going to miss out on his grandma's 80th birthday!

New big man Pau Gasol spent some time in Spain with athletes preparing for the Paralympic Team.

And lastly, Anfernee Simons held his youth basketball camp this weekend in Florida

View this post on Instagram

Day 1 of camp ✅✅

A post shared by Anfernee Simons (@antsimons) on

MVP, NBA Title, Grammy Award? Damian Lillard talks priorities

MVP, NBA Title, Grammy Award? Damian Lillard talks priorities

TMZ has a video interview with Damian Lillard talking about where rap fits into his priority list in life. 

The NBA All Star just released his third rap album and has gotten fairly widespread positive reviews. Unlike many players before him, Lillard has actual talent in the music business and is also an elite level max-contract type NBA player. 

So what's the priority? When asked about how important winning a Grammy would be:

I don't care about it maybe to the level I care about being the MVP or winning a championship.

Lillard's continues in the interview about how he hopes to really be taken seriously for his rap music and as an artist. 

Outside of winning a Grammy, Lillard talks about performing at the BET Awards or having Album of the Year as potential goals in that area of his life. 

But don't worry Trail Blazer fans, basketball remains Lillard's #1 priority and Portland will look to improve upon its Western Conference Finals run next season on the play of Lillard and his new max contract. 

You can watch the entire clip right here:

Social media reacts: Big D.O.L.L.A brought big HEAT

Social media reacts: Big D.O.L.L.A brought big HEAT

Finally the moment the music and sports worlds have been waiting a long time for.... Damian Lillard AKA Dame D.O.L.L.A dropped his third album on Thursday night.

Safe to say, D.O.L.L.A came in with the heat. The album features additional musical artists Lil Wayne, Marley Waters, Mozzy, Jeremih, Derrick Milano, Major Myjah, and Danny from Sobrante.

His teammates, fellow NBA stars, and musicians chimed in on D.O.L.L.A latest album:

Other D.O.L.L.A highlights in the music industry:

Damian Lillard's new album Big D.O.L.L.A. is here!

Damian Lillard

Damian Lillard's new album Big D.O.L.L.A. is here!

Portland fans are no strangers to Damian Lillard's rap career. Whether it was Four Bar Friday or his albums, Rip City loves them some Dame DOLLA.

The much anticipated release of his newest album dropped tonight:

Anticipation for the drop has been high and not just with fans, but media and celebrities alike:

And if you really want to get in on the action you can buy Big D.O.L.L.A merchandise as well!

Check back Friday for more on Dame's new album including a roundup of reviews on the latest tracks. 

REPORT: 1st Lillard vs. Westbrook matchup of season set for November

REPORT: 1st Lillard vs. Westbrook matchup of season set for November

You may or may not believe that Damian Lillard waved goodbye and ended the Russelll Westbrook era in OCK with his 37-foot buzzer beater.

Even if you don't think 'the shot' had anything to do with the Thunder going in a new direction, fans all across the league have fun watching the Lillard and Westbrook matchup.

So it's time to mark your calendar.  

According to a report from Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, the very first Lillard and Westbrook showdown since their postseason matchup is tentatively slated for November 17th in Houston.

With reports of Christmas Day games and various other regular season games being rumored all over twitter, NBA fans are even more eager for the 2019-20 NBA regular season schedules to be released.

The NBA should be announcing the schedules the second week of August.

For the Trail Blazers, Portland will reportedly not being play a Christmas Day Game.

Make sure to keep checking back at NBS Sports Northwest for more on the Blazers schedule has we get closer to its release.

Another team-bonding Trail Blazers' San Diego trip is 'probably' happening in September

Another team-bonding Trail Blazers' San Diego trip is 'probably' happening in September

TUALATIN – Now that CJ McCollum has officially signed his three-year contract extension with Portland, and the Trial Blazers roster has been finalized, the anticipation for the 2019-20 season in Portland continues to grow.

What’s next for the Trail Blazers in the immediate future?

According to McCollum there will “probably” be a team-bonding trip to San Diego.

At the Trail Blazers practice facility on Wednesday afternoon, the Blazers held a press conference to officially announce McCollum’s extension.

McCollum and Trail Blazers President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey discussed the extension and offered up their thoughts on the offseason overall.   

It sounds like team building might be in order with just half the roster returning.

[RELATED]: CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard here to stay and McCollum is all about it

The Trail Blazers have been known to take a team trip to San Diego in September with Damian Lillard heading it up.

“I’m going to call Dame later today,” McCollum said at Wednesday’s press conference. “I think he’s in Phoenix right now… I’m going to talk to him and see what he wants to do. ” McCollum said.

McCollum went on to say with a big smile, “My schedule is pretty clear except for some Brown games, and vacation with my fiancée, so September is usually where I start two-a days and stuff like that.”  

[RELATED]: CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard's special relationship has McCollum eyeing NBA Finals

McCollum also mentioned that Trail Blazers Director of Security Rick Riley has suggested another San Diego trip or some type of outing.

“I think it could be very beneficial just because this is the first time in awhile where we had half the roster change. So, being able to kind of get more acclimated with everybody could be beneficial,” McCollum said.

Portland’s roster will consist of six new faces:

-- Nassir Little

-- Kent Bazemore

-- Anthony Tolliver

-- Mario Herzonja

-- Hassan Whiteside

-- Pau Gasol

Since consistency has been a key for the Trail Blazers over the years, there might be an adjustment period to see how the team will gel to start the season.

But, McCollum is not concerned that it will take long for the team to start to figure each other out. 

“I think it’ll take some time, but based on the type of players we’re bringing in, they understand their role… I think they way we play offensively and defensively; smart basketball players are going to be able to pick it up and I think we have a bunch of heady guys,” McCollum said.

McCollum is particularly looking forward to the new bigs: Hassan Whiteside and Pau Gasol.

“That was a big signing for us,” McCollum said of Gasol at McCollum’s kids basketball camp Tuesday. “I think he’s a big body who can help. He’s got championship pedigree, Hall of Famer, he knows how to play the game the right way. Obviously he has the skill set, he can pass, he can do those things, but I think his mentorship will be important.”

McCollum also shouted out, “we got shooter who can dribble!” doing his best Whiteside impression.

But all kidding aside, McCollum believes Whiteside will “fit in well.”

“He works hard,” McCollum said of Whiteside. “Obviously I’ve known him for some years, same agency, I’ve been to his house in Miami and we’ve talked over the course of the summer how he can fit into our offense and how he can help defensively. It’s going to be fun for him. It’s a new environment. I think it’s a fresh start for him and a different type of leadership here, a different type of chemistry and culture. He’ll be good for us, really good for us.”

McCollum is also not worried about any type of locker room concerns with Whiteside either.

“He understands what needs to be done, he’ll see when he gets here how we roll, how we do things, what’s acceptable and what’s not, and we’ll go from there,” McCollum said.

The San Diego trip could prove to be a kick-start to Portland's bonding, but it could also have a lasting bond that could help late in the season.

Which is of course is when it matters most as McCollum mentioned on Wednesday.

“The biggest thing is trying and peak towards April… And stay healthy, I like our chances.”

CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard's special relationship has McCollum eyeing NBA Finals

CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard's special relationship has McCollum eyeing NBA Finals

Trail Blazers fans know there are many reasons why Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum have become one of the best backcourt duos in the league.

There are also many reasons why the two have become so close on and off the court.

The two have been determined to stay together and have long careers in Rip City.

“We’ve talked about this for a long time,” McCollum said. “We’ve talked about being in Portland, making a staple here, trying to win a championship here. All those things and we’ve crossed off a lot of goals individually and collectively, but I think that us both being here for the long haul, us both being able to grow together and win together is something that people will remember for a long time.”

McCollum wants to make sure he and Dame are smelling the roses along the way too.

“It’s sad but usually you don’t really appreciate things until it’s gone, so hopefully we can appreciate this moment and everyone else around it can appreciate it while we are here,” McCollum said.

A big reason for the on-court success between the two has been their genuine friendship. Their friendship has been well documented and talked about over the years, but on Tuesday, McCollum discussed exactly why he feels he and Lillard have such great chemistry.

“It was an authentic relationship, that wasn’t forced. It wasn’t like ‘alright, you’re teammates now you’ve got to be friends’ we knew each other before and just happen to become teammates and been able to build on a lot of things,” McCollum said.

“We’ve co-existed well and we’ll continue to only get better going forward,” McCollum added.

The duo isn’t afraid to give feedback on each other’s game either.

“Sometimes you need to be able to take criticism,” McCollum said when addressing how he and Lillard watch game film together on the plane during road trips.

The Blazers duo has tasted success and is dialed in on getting one step further.

NBA Finals featuring Lillard and McCollum is the next goal.

“If I can get better and he can get better, we were four wins away from going to the finals, little stuff matters during the regular season and in the playoffs,” McCollum said.

CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard here to stay and McCollum is all about it

CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard here to stay and McCollum is all about it

A big payday and a big first day of basketball camp.

Tuesday afternoon it was announced that Trail Blazers and guard CJ McCollum have agreed to a three-year, $100 million contract extension that will keep McCollum in Portland through the 2024 season. 

At the annual CJ McCollum camp, McCollum gave his initial thoughts on inking a new deal just two years into his current contract.  

“It’s an honor,” McCollum said. “It’s a blessing to be in this position, honestly. Growing up in Canton, Ohio, going to a small school, the career I’ve had early on and then to now, it’s a testament to hard work, it’s a testament to the organization, believing in me, having faith in me throughout my career and up to this point.”

“I’m looking forward to spending five more years here,” McCollum added.   

The Trail Blazers shooting guard admitted he never thought he would get a $100 million contract let alone two $100 million contracts.

“I was just trying to make it to the NBA, that was the goal, and once I got here I was trying to stick for as long as I could, figure out a way to be successful, figure out a way to help my team win, and be productive. I think I’ve done those things,” McCollum said.

The 27-year-old is heading into his seventh season in the league. His previous deal that he signed in 2016 was a five-year, $157 million contract. This new extension will start in 2021, which aligns with his backcourt mate as Damian Lillard agreed to a four-year, $196 million supermax extension earlier this summer, which runs through the 2025 season.

With Portland keeping with its theme of consistency in its backcourt duo, NBC Sports NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh, discussed how this is not the norm. 

“The most consistent duo in the NBA is in for the long haul,” Haberstroh said. “By inking C.J. McCollum to a reporter 3-year, $100 million extension, the Blazers have locked in their uber-reliable backcourt, Damian Lillard and McCollum, until 2023-24.”

“In the NBA’s player empowerment era where change is constant, the Blazers are the exception to the rule — and that’s even more impressive in a small market like Portland. McCollum took less than the max but it’s still a pretty steep price for someone who has never made the All-Star team. That said, he’d probably be an All-Star if he wasn’t playing in the loaded West. The Blazers will gladly pay a premium for his services and double down on continuity while they face what has seemingly become a league of rentals.”

The love for Portland

There were many factors that played a role into McCollum signing a contract extension with the only team he has ever played for in his NBA career.

A big reason was McCollum’s love for this team and for the city.  

“I had two years left on my current deal, but I’m happy with the situation I’m in,” McCollum said. “I love this city. I bought a home here. I look forward to potentially raising a family here. So, I think all those things played a factor.”

“Obviously it gives myself security, the team security, knowing that I’m not going to become a free agent in two seasons, and that kind of aligns me to continue to play alongside Dame, continuing to help build things, not only on the court, but in the community.”

Even with all the rumors and rumblings over the past few seasons that the Trail Blazers ‘should’ break up McCollum and Lillard, here we are.

McCollum and Lillard are here to stay; at least until the mid-2020s.

“I think it made sense for me, it made sense for the team, so I’m glad we were able to get it done,” McCollum said.

Now it’s about to getting after it after making his money.

“Getting paid is great, it’s a great feeling, but there’s more than that, more work to be done. I look forward to that part of it,” McCollum said.

REPORT: CJ McCollum agree to a 3-year contract extension with Trail Blazers

REPORT: CJ McCollum agree to a 3-year contract extension with Trail Blazers

It looks like the Trail Blazers backcourt duo is here to stay for even longer in Portland.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Trail Blazers' guard CJ McCollum has agreed to a three-year contract extension.  

According to the report, McCollum’s current deal will extend to five years with Portland. The contract extension is worth $100 million.

The 27-year-old shooting guard reportedly became eligible for the extension last week.

According to Bobby Marks, McCollum’s extension will start in the 2021-22 season, the same season that the super max contract for Blazers All-Star point guard Damian Lillard will start.

McCollum was currently two years into his last extension, which was for $106 million over four years. McCollum has averaged at least 20 points per game in each of the last four seasons. The Trail Blazers No. 10th overall pick in the 2013.

draft has emerged as one of the league's top scorers of the dribble.

McCollum will be putting his opponents on skates in Rip City for the next five years, at least.    

We will get a chance to talk with McCollum later today during his media interview at his kids basketball camp in Beaverton. Be sure to check back at NBCSportsNorthwest.com.