Evan Turner

Some reasons the Trail Blazers signed a point guard rather than a small forward

Some reasons the Trail Blazers signed a point guard rather than a small forward

The Trail Blazers signed a replacement player for Trevor Ariza Monday -- point guard Jaylen Adams -- and a whole lot of Portland fans seem upset about it.

Ariza, who opted out of going to Orlando for the NBA’s resumption of the season, is a small forward. Why a point guard? Who will play small forward? And what about bringing former Trail Blazers such as Allen Crabbe or Evan Turner back to fill that spot? Or what about signing some of the “name” players who are out there?

Well, I think I can help you with some answers here, based on logic and the experience of being around this franchise for a few days.

Let me make some points and you can pick out what you need. First, the small forward position:

  • The idea of Crabbe or Turner is a non-starter. Turner is still on Minnesota’s roster. He played in only 19 games this season and just one after Jan. 1.

  • Crabbe played in 37 games this season and started just once. He had a miserable season. And he's one of those players who seems to need the ball a lot, which isn't going to happen here.

  • Those “name” players people are talking about? The likes of Iman Shumpert and Gerald Green? Shumpert isn’t good enough to help and Green is hurt.

  • Veteran players who finished last season without a team would be going to Orlando in search of long-term employment -- a chance to showcase for a deal next season. That means they’re going to want playing time and if they don’t get it, that will be a problem.

  • There has never been a time I can remember where team chemistry and togetherness will be tested like it will be in Orlando. Players will have very little freedom of movement and contact with family or friends. Their stress level is likely to be off the charts. Adding players with excess baggage is not something a lot of teams will be willing to do. Not sure the Trail Blazers -- or many of the other teams in Orlando -- want to take chances with players who might be a disruption.

  • If this team gets eliminated quickly in the seeding games, which is a possibility, don’t be surprised if the team’s core players see their minutes cut down so that the coaches and front office can see the others play. They certainly wouldn’t be interested in watching over-the-hill vets looking for a contract from another team.

  • There has been an open transaction window since June 23 and if a veteran player hasn’t been signed by now, odds are he’s not valued by any of the 22 teams.

And now for Adams and the reasons for signing him:

  • Again, if the Trail Blazers can’t hang in the race for the final playoff berth, I would expect Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum’s minutes to be drastically cut -- or see them even shut down. Why risk injury if the team is out of the running? If that’s the case, help is needed at point guard.

  • I don’t expect Anfernee Simons to play 48 minutes in the absence of Dame and CJ, so Adams would be there to back up.

  • There is nothing wrong with getting an early look at one of the G-League’s best players prior to next season.

  • Adams will also help lighten the load for the starters during the three-week camp leading up to the seeding games.

And so, who do I expect to see playing small forward, with Ariza absent?:

  • Depending on matchups, I would expect Carmelo Anthony to get those minutes, alongside Zach Collins and either Jusuf Nurkic or Hassan Whiteside. I would also expect Gary Trent to get time at small forward, where he has spent time previously this season.

  • The league seems to grow more positionless each season and all sorts of big and small lineups are possible with what this team has on its roster.

  • Terry Stotts likes to stick with a tidy rotation in the postseason -- eight players, if possible. I think those eight would obviously include Lillard, McCollum, Collins, Nurkic, Whiteside, Anthony, Trent and Simons -- with Nassir Little and Mario Hezonja used for specific matchups. There is not much room there for additions unless somebody else opts out.

How Evan Turner impacted one kid's life with kindness and a handwritten birthday card

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How Evan Turner impacted one kid's life with kindness and a handwritten birthday card

Evan Turner isn’t a Trail Blazer anymore. In fact, he’s not even a member of the Boston Celtics.

But this story isn’t about what team or what city Turner is playing for these days, it’s bigger than basketball.

Four years ago, Turner met a kid named Frankie Ford Jr. during a junior Celtics clinic at a local high school. Turner noticed the kid with the bright hair from across the room, who was sitting with his head down and convinced him to come play basketball.

“We were all playing and everything and I saw this kid with the orange hair sitting in the corner with his head down, and I went over and said ‘come play,” Turner told Mark Murphy of The Boston Herald. “He told me something had happened with his family not long before that and he was down. I talked to him for a bit and made him feel comfortable. I asked him to come play on my team and play basketball, have fun.”

Over the next few hours, Turner gave Frankie a tour of the Celtics practice facility, they shot baskets together and even ordered cheeseburgers. Frankie discussed what he wanted for his upcoming birthday. Days later, Turner delivered a birthday present with a handwritten letter the young boy would never forget. 

“I hope this birthday is one you’ll truly enjoy and always remember. I also hope the staff at Applebee’s sings a great birthday tune for you, as well!!

Stay blessed,

Evan

P.S. Pick up a book and read!!”

What Turner didn’t know at the time was that Frankie had just lost his father and uncle. His father, Francis Ford Sr. died of a heart attack, and his uncle Ralph, died of a heroin overdose at 38. He was facing trauma that most kids don’t go through and Turner was a friend when Frankie needed it.

Years later when Frankie went on Instagram to reconnect with his friend, Turner remembered.

“Frankiiiieeeee,” Turner replied in the messgae. 

Frankie is now 13 years old and a 6-foot-2 basketball player for Gate of Heaven, his CYO basketball team. He recently invited Turner to one of his games. Turner was sent from Atlanta to Minnesota in a four-team trade earlier this week, but hopes to attend one of Frankie's games and cheer him on in the near future. 

This story is about kindness and how it doesn’t take much to lift someone else’s spirit. It was Evan Turner four years ago, but it could be anyone today.

Read the full story via The Boston Herald here

Evan Turner plays Rock Paper Scissors from Hawks bench, remains a national treasure

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USATI

Evan Turner plays Rock Paper Scissors from Hawks bench, remains a national treasure

Evan Turner is a national treasure. He really is. 

During his three seasons with the Blazers, he was a gem. Always good for a laugh or a viral moment. 

From a dump truck in his pool, to Instagram storytime live from the toilet, to flipping the bird in Denver, and rocking the cradle on Westbrook. Turner was legendary. 

Now with the Hawks, Turner has missed multiple games with various injuries. He once again did not suit up when Atlanta traveled to Brooklyn to take on the Nets. However, he still got a game in - A game of rock, paper, scissors. 

A fan seated directly across from for the Hawks bench was able to get Turner's attention and in the middle of basketball action, the pair managed a round of the classic hand game.

Please, for all that is good in the world, never change ET. You are the gift that keeps on giving.

Here's where to go if you're looking to place blame for Trail Blazers' rough start

Here's where to go if you're looking to place blame for Trail Blazers' rough start

PHOENIX – The Trail Blazers have struggled through the early season and a segment of the fan base is always looking to blame someone.

And rather than simply looking at the injury list and being done with it, they’re trying to blame just about everyone but Blaze the Trail Cat.

What I’m hearing a lot is the idea that the team should have held on to Meyers Leonard, Maurice Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu. And should not have “let go” of Enes Kanter and Seth Curry.

I’ve dealt with this before, but this seems like a good time to go over it again.

First, let’s differentiate between trades and free agency. Kanter and Curry were free agents last summer and it wasn't a matter of the team "letting them go." The Trail Blazers knew they would be priced out of the market for Curry, who had a very good season with Portland. He eventually re-signed with Dallas, where he played before he became a Trail Blazer, for $32 million over four years. That was out of Portland’s reach, since all it could offer was the taxpayer mid-level exception of $5.7 million.

Kanter was given the first call by Neil Olshey last summer at the onset of free agency and he vacillated on his decision to take the TMLE. So, Portland went to its second choice, Rodney Hood, who had been off to a career year before suffering a season-ending injury. A good move, obviously … and Kanter ended up signing with Boston for about a million bucks less than he would have made in Portland.

Now, let’s get to the other three players. Harkless and Leonard went to Miami in a deal for Hassan Whiteside, who is in the final season of his contract. Whiteside was brought in to give the Trail Blazers a replacement at center for Jusuf Nurkic, who isn’t expected back until sometime in the new year. Bazemore, also on an expiring deal, came in a trade with Atlanta for Evan Turner.

Both those deals allowed Portland to preserve cap space for one more big trade – hopefully for a major star making a lot of money with multiple years left on his deal. Since the Blazers have had little luck luring free agents to town, the idea of making a deal for a big-time player who would be under their contractual control for a while, is the next best thing.

And it's also a big (and expensive) commitment to building a team that can compete for a championship.

OK, that said, those trades have turned out just fine for Portland and I’m tired of hearing how much the departed players have been missed. I’m not knocking them in any way, but the fact is, what came in return has been very good for this team.

Whiteside has averaged 16.2 points. 12.4 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 2.4 blocked shots per game this season. Leonard, Harkless and Aminu (who is now hurt) have COMBINED for 15.9 points, 12.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.5 blocks per game this season.

And oh yes, a player by the name of Carmelo Anthony was added to the mix a while back – amidst all sorts of pleas from fans begging them not to do it because of fears about the bad raps that have dogged Anthony,

But so far, Anthony has been a solid player who has blended seamlessly with his new teammates. And, of course, he’s given the team 16.3 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game.

So, this all leads back to the original point. If you have trouble figuring out what’s wrong with your Trail Blazers, look no further than that injury report – which features Zach Collins, Hood and Nurkic.

That’s this team’s entire starting front court. And they are most certainly missed more than the players who were traded away.

Evan Turner on the Trail Blazers: 'Dame always figures it out'

Evan Turner on the Trail Blazers: 'Dame always figures it out'

If anyone understands what it’s like to have a rocky adjustment with the Trail Blazers it’s Evan Turner, the now Atlanta Hawks wing, who spent the past three seasons going through his own ups and downs in Portland.

Turner, who sat out on Sunday with an Achilles injury, said he has watched the Blazers a “decent amount” in the early stages of the season and while he understands that fans might be panicking about a less than ideal start to the year, he doesn’t think it’s warranted.

“It’s literally not anything to fret over,” he said.

The Blazers started 12-14 in Turner’s first season in Portland in 2016-17 and opened the following season at 6-6 before surging to the third seed in the Western Conference playoffs. So when Turner saw this iteration of Blazers struggle out of the gates, it didn’t raise much concern.

“It’s a lot of new guys in the locker room,” Turner said. “So they’re adjusting to how you do things. The core, the focal point are the two guards so you have to really get acclimated and find your way around how you can make an impact the best way you can.”

Turner isn’t one to insincerely butter up his former team. He is refreshingly honest, the type of player who will tell reporters the truth to a fault. If he thought this team was bad, it would be in the headline. Instead he insisted this team will be fine. So what is inspiring Turner about the Blazers who needed an overtime win Sunday to run their record to 4-6 on the season?

Chiefly it’s Anfernee Simons, the 20-year-old guard who scored 20 points against the Hawks, and is averaging just shy of twelve points a game in his second season.

“I thought he was going to hit his stride like this eventually but I didn’t know it’d be this quick. It’s unreal. He will be very, very, very, very, very, very, very good,” Turner said, giving his seven-very seal of approval.

“I think the thing I’m noticing about him now is — his confidence wavered sometimes in and out. Like even in the summer he’d have those big games and stuff. He had like 35 and 10 (at summer league). Now the kid knows he’s got it, and you could see it on the court (Sunday) where he went off and Dame and CJ and the coaches were letting him rock out. I think it’s obvious.”

Turner and Simons developed a close bond last season and Turner was one of the first Blazer veterans to confidently proclaim that Simons was going to be an impact player in the NBA. But Turner’s Blazer optimism extends beyond his admiration for their promising youngster. He has seen enough Lillard, his good friend, up close to hit pause on the skepticism.

“If three games go a different way, they’re 7-3, and nobody’d be whining, right?," Turner said. "I think they’ll be fine. Dame always figures it out."

Sunday wasn’t a perfect game. The Blazer looked disjointed early and failed to put the Hawks away late, before narrowly avoiding a five-game losing streak in overtime. But to hear Turner tell it: the Blazers are in a good spot, even with the injuries, even with the new parts adjusting to a new system. But for fans still concerned over a 4-6 record and the obvious issues facing the roster, Turner points in one direction: Toward the team’s All-Star point guard.

“He just keeps getting better and better each year,” he said. “I think it’s still early on in the year and the dude is just going to keep being Dame Lillard. He’s going to keep getting better, and you think you’ve already seen the best he has and there’s more. He’s in his prime and he’s flourishing.”

Evan Turner: The "big brother" who will be missed but who also made Ant and Gary go on 7-Eleven runs

Evan Turner: The "big brother" who will be missed but who also made Ant and Gary go on 7-Eleven runs

Over the last couple of days, Trail Blazers fans have become very eager to see their new-look team in action with the Blazers making moves this summer.

For now, fans will have to settle for watching the Trail Blazers Summer League squad take the court in Las Vegas beginning July 5th.

On Tuesday, Portland held its first Summer League practice. Second-year players Anfernee Simons and Gary Trent Jr. are ready to defend the Blazers 2018 Summer League Championship, but they also took time on Tuesday to thank their now former teammate, Evan Turner.

[RELATED]: Free Agent Roundup: All the latest news from the Trail Blazers

“It’s been pretty crazy. Obviously we’re going to miss those guys… They were all big pieces for us… I just wish the best for them and I’m happy to move forward,” Simons said of enduring his first free agency wave of teammates leaving.

Simons described Turner as his “big brother.”

As we all know, big brothers can be looked at as a mentor, but they can also be a little demanding at time.

Or a lot demanding.

And, that was ET.

“ET was a headache the whole year,” Simons said with a big smile. “He called us late at night telling us to go to 7-Eleven to get him something to drink or something like that.”

Those 7-Eleven runs would happen on a “consistent” basis.

“Say a road trip is like five games; he would do it three of the cities. So it was pretty consistent,” Simons said. 

Simons laughed, saying, telling ET was not a option.

“He would get candy, snacks, anything, it didn’t matter, everything, something random. Toiletries, toilet paper, wipes, everything,” Simons said with a straight face.

“Sometimes I didn’t answer the phone on purpose because it was so late,” Simons laughed.

But despite all of Turner’s requests, he is the one who will be missed the most by the Blazers youngster.

“I’m going to miss ET most because he was the guy that kind of took us under his wing and kind of talked to us. He was like a big brother,” Simons said.

Trent Jr. also talked about how difficult it is to say good-bye to teammates, especially ET.

“You know, this my first time actually being part of a new team, with guys leaving,” Trent Jr. said. “I got close with a couple of the guys last year. Evan Turner, he was my vet. Now that he’s gone, I’m out here on my own, kind of."

Trent Jr. went on to say, “when I was first got here, [ET] just taught me the ropes. He got me a couple pair of suits, CJ [McCollum] did too. Evan got my first chain for me with my initials, just little stuff like that.”

Simons noted that Turner also gifted him some suits and chains as well.

At just 20 years old, Simons was taught the ropes from ET throughout the season, but he was also taught how to respond to a trade.

Both Simons and Turner were in Phoenix together last week training when the trade went down.

“He was cool about it the next day,” Simons said. "He’s been through this before. He’s a vet.”

Now as Turner heads to Atlanta, Simons and Trent Jr. will look to keep making Turner proud… Except when they play the Hawks, of course.

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

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.

ALEX HAIGH: 

“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.

CHRIS BURKHARDT: 

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

JAKE MCGRADY: 

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.

Get to know your newest Trail Blazer, seven-year veteran Kent Bazemore

Get to know your newest Trail Blazer, seven-year veteran Kent Bazemore

The Portland Trail Blazers and Atlanta Hawks are swapping veteran wings Evan Turner and Kent Bazemore.

Turner had just finished his third season with Portland and is entering the last year of his four-year, $70 million deal.

Bazemore, a 6'5" guard, is set to make $19.3 million. This deal is essentially a swap of high-expiring contracts. Turner is set to make $18.6 million next season.

With this move, Portland adds more shooting depth on the perimeter especially with Al-Farouq Aminu and Rodney Hood hitting free agency. Bazemore has averaged at least 11 points in each of his last four years with the Hawks.

The 29-year-old should fit in nicely with Blazers head coach Terry Stotts’ system, while Portland will certainly benefit from adding another three-point shooter. Over his seven-year NBA career, Bazemore averages 41.9% shooting from the field and 35.2% from deep.

Last season with Atlanta, Bazemore averaged career highs in all three major categories with 11.6 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.3 assists.

He will also be a valuable two-way player. At Old Dominion, Bazemore earned First-team All-CAA in 2012 and was a 2X Defensive Player of the Year in 2011 and 2012. He also earned CAA All-Defensive Team three different times from 2010-12.

Bazemore went undrafted in 2012, but joined the Oklahoma City Thunder to play for OKC in the Orlando Summer League tournament. He then played for the Golden State Warriors in the Las Vegas Summer League. After his summer stint in Vegas, he signed with Golden State.

Bazemore has spent time with the Warriors, Lakers, and most recently with the Hawks from 2014-2019.

Check out the video above for more highlights from Bazemore's time in the NBA.

Terry Stotts: Kent Bazemore "will be an excellent addition to our roster"

Terry Stotts: Kent Bazemore "will be an excellent addition to our roster"

Portland Trail Blazer Coach Terry Stotts’ reaction to Monday’s trade of Evan Turner to Atlanta for Kent Bazemore:

“We are going to miss Evan and all that he brought to our team, both on and off the court. He was a high-quality person and player who positively impacted our team in many ways.

“Kent will add athleticism, scoring, shooting, and defense to our team. He will be an excellent addition to our roster and I’m excited for what he can bring to our team.”