Neil Olshey

Impact or not, what do the Trail Blazers see in Mario Hezonja?

Impact or not, what do the Trail Blazers see in Mario Hezonja?

The Portland Trail Blazers don't know what they have with Mario Hezonja just yet. The former No. 5 overall pick is a reclamation project, a low risk, medium reward type of player who might just be another of Neil Olshey’s diamonds in the rough.

Last season for the New York Knicks, Hezonja saw some improvement in his game. Whether that can continue with Portland, particularly considering the bevy of wing players the team now has, is a serious question. If Hezonja can’t get ample playing time, will the team culture and coaching staff be enough to coax him along his way?

In contrast to some of his teammates, Hezonja is surprisingly not a very good 3-point shooter. What he does bring to the table is a willingness to push the pace and drive the ball. He's also a very useful passer on the wing, something Portland's bench unit might end up needing over the course of this year.

All that being said, there is no doubt that Hezonja is still a prospect. Every roster needs minimum salary players, and Olshey was smart to pick up a guy with lots of potential and who at his very worst will simply warm the bench if he doesn’t work out.

Check out the full video breakdown above to see what Hezonja brings to the table, and why Portland has sneakily been excited about bringing him to Rip City for the past couple of seasons. 

How did Anfernee Simons get the nickname 'Ant' and why is it perfect?

How did Anfernee Simons get the nickname 'Ant' and why is it perfect?

When somebody has the nickname “Ant,” you have to wonder where that came from. I mean, it’s not one of the more common names you hear for people. And in the case of Anfernee Simons, it kind of sounds like his first name but it would be a lot more like that if his first name was Anthony.

So where did that whole “Ant” thing come from?

Simons says: “My mom.”

Really?

“Yeah, a lot of people couldn’t pronounce my name," he said.  "And she just said, ‘Ant.' It’s much easier. When someone asks me for my name at a restaurant, I always use someone else’s name. I just tell them, ‘John’ or something. An easy name.”

So even though he was named after the famous NBA player, Anfernee Hardaway, people still don’t get it?

“They don't,” he said. “But a lot of people knew him as ‘Penny.’”

True. And Penny quit playing a dozen years ago, too. In fact, Simons has known Hardaway’s son, Jayden, since fifth grade. Jayden has since gone on to play for his father, now the coach at his alma mater, Memphis.

Simons is going to be called upon to accept a lot of responsibility with the Trail Blazers this season as a combo guard, expected to handle things for the second unit when Damian Lillard or CJ McCollum leave the floor.

And that’s going to be a big job for a player who played only 141 minutes last season as a rookie, over just 20 games.

“I am going to have more responsibility,” he said, “but I don’t think it’s more pressure. I just go out there and play my game and don’t talk about what I’m going to do.”

He’s a very confident player, that was obvious during his rookie season. And he has terrific explosiveness and scoring skills. The team’s president of basketball operations, Neil Olshey, has called him “The most gifted player I’ve ever drafted.”

“That was good for my confidence,” Simons said. “I just want to go out there and play hard, show what I can do and get better.”

He will have some point guard to play with the second unit, but he’s comfortable with that.

“I just go out there and play free,” he said. “I play my game and choose which shots are the right ones and when to pass. Pretty much everyone here can shoot. Everybody’s real versatile. It’s not hard to know who to pass to and when.”

And granted, he’s going to be carrying a heavy load in that new role. But that’s what ants do, right? It's perfect, but in case you didn’t know it, ants can lift 5,000 times their body weight.

Trail Blazers ready to learn from legend Pau Gasol

Trail Blazers ready to learn from legend Pau Gasol

The smiles, the handshakes, and the hugs: Trail Blazers media day is truly a back-to-school type of feeling.

Just like with every media day, it’s a chance for the media to catch up with the players, hear about their offseason, their goals, and any expectations they may have set for the year.

Over the course of about four hours of interviews there were a couple of common themes throughout.

After each player finished talking at the podium to the masses of the media, the player then made their way into the Fountain Room in the Memorial Coliseum for a special NBC Sports interview.

[RELATED]: Warm championship dreams highlight Trail Blazers' chilly media day

The rotational players were congruent on two things:

This team has the capability of winning a title. Pau Gasol is a walking legend.

With seven new faces added to the Trail Blazers roster, this media day was all about getting to know the new guys and the feeling surrounding the team.

For veteran Anthony Tolliver, who has played for 11 different NBA teams, he has a gut feeling about this roster.

“This is the first time I’ve gone into the season expecting to compete for a Championship,” Tolliver said.

It was evident that this Blazers squad has championship on the brain.

It was also apparent, they know just the guy to help them get there.

“Pau knows what it takes," as far as winning a championship goes, Blazers head coach Terry Stotts said.

“He commands the respect of his teammates just because of what he’s done in his career,” Stotts added.

[RELATED]: Lillard: Strength is in the culture

But for the young Blazers, it has taken them a bit to adjust to seeing the future Hall of Famer on a daily basis.

Gary Trent Jr. and Anfernee Simons know how fortunate they are to be entering their second year with Gasol as their mentor.

Trent Jr. has a master plan to learn from Gasol while the team is on the road.

“I’m trying to go sit next to him on the plane, so I can pick his brain apart. Hear about every story about Kobe Bryant, my favorite player. So, hopefully when we get to the plane I’m gonna sit with him and that’s going to be your seat for the rest of the year,” Trent Jr. said with a big smile.

Trent Jr. was born in 1999.

Simons was born in 1999.

Gasol was drafted in 2001.

The 39-year-old would be happy to know that the 20-year-old, Trent Jr., still thinks Pau is hip and happening.

“He’s joking around with guys, he’s being cool. He’s being funny. He’s still young and hip. He’s still got it,” Trent Jr. said with a smile.

Simons is also looking to pick Gasol’s brain, but he had to get over how surreal it is to be on the same team.

“It was crazy the first time I saw him in the locker room. I was like this is Pau Gasol for real, like it’s crazy!” Simons laughed.

It’s a little different story for Hassan Whiteside.

“We were always battling on the court. So, it’s like so different. Like, seeing him in a friendly environment, where it’s not always so much competition like it was in the past,” Whiteside said.

Whiteside joked about how that friendly nature of Gasol goes away once he hits the court.

That friendly nature seems to be firmly rooted in Gasol. He is happy to be in that mentor role, in fact he prefers it.

Once Gasol is healthy again after undergoing surgery on his left foot last May, Gasol said he hopes to bring “good decisions, good basketball IQ, create a good flow, good chemistry on the floor… And leadership off the floor as well with the young guys.”

Gasol wants to be, “a guy that [players] can ask advice and look for support and guidance to a certain degree.” Gasol went on to say, “I’ve seen quite a bit, I won’t say I’ve seen it all, but I’ve seen quite a bit.”

The humble and friendly nature of Gasol was exuded at Trail Blazers media day. His teammates exuded their respect for him as the 2x time NBA champ looks to chases another ring.

This time with Portland.

Trail Blazers versatile bigs will be key to success

Trail Blazers versatile bigs will be key to success

The Portland Trail Blazers opened the 2019-20 season on Monday with the annual media day, and President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey started off the festivities. 

During the offseason, Olshey fully retooled the Blazers' roster. Not a full teardown and rebuild, but more a filling of the gaps left by departed key players. 

Out went players like Maurice Harkless, Al-Farouq Aminu, and Evan Turner. In came players like Kent Bazemore, Mario Hezonja, and Hassan Whiteside. 

"I think it's the deepest, most talented, most experienced team we've had since we've been here," said Olshey.

He's not wrong.  

A lot of the experience Olshey was talking about comes from two of the big men he signed over the summer: Anthony Tolliver and Pau Gasol. 

Tolliver brings 11 years of NBA experience to the table, while Gasol brings championship rings to the locker room as he enters his 17th season. 

Tolliver, Gasol, and the addition of Hassan Whiteside also give the Blazers the biggest team they have ever had during Olshey's tenure. When Jusuf Nurkic gets back, it gets even bigger. 

While experts often talk about "small ball," there is still a place in the NBA for going big. 

"When people talk about going small, that's off the bench. When you look around the league, teams start big," Olshey pointed out. 

The Blazers now have the luxury of starting big and adapting to various styles of play without sacrificing size. 

Nurkic and Whiteside are both bangers, at their best when using their size in the paint to get easy looks. Gasol and Zach Collins can both play down low, but can also stretch the floor and easily hit shots from the mid-range and beyond the arc. Tolliver is a three-point marksman that can play the three in big lineups, but will give the Blazers a weapon at power forward off the bench... and we haven't even talked about Mario Hezonja, who can play 2-4, and Skal Labissiere, another big, athletic center. 

The Blazers are big, versatile, and ready to build off of last season's success. More important than any physical measurable, these guys are where they want to be. 

"We finished really strong and it's inspired the guys... all the guys that are here, want to be here...We have to have guys that buy-in to how we do things in Portland," Olshey added. 

* Our Dwight Jaynes and Jamie Hudson are live at media day talking to all the players and coaches and getting us ready for the upcoming season. You can stream all the action live on the NBC Sports My Teams App *

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.”

Official: Trail Blazers sign CJ McCollum to multi-year contract extension

Official: Trail Blazers sign CJ McCollum to multi-year contract extension

The Portland Trail Blazers have signed guard CJ McCollum to a multi-year contract extension, it was announced today by president of basketball operations Neil Olshey.

The three-year extension keeps McCollum under contract through the 2023-24 season.  

“CJ McCollum is a franchise cornerstone and a critical part of our future,” said Olshey. “This extension represents a strong level of commitment between CJ, the Trail Blazers and the city of Portland.”

McCollum, 27, holds averages of 17.8 points (45.5% FG, 40.1% 3-PT, 83.9% FT), 3.1 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 0.87 steals in 411 games (314 starts) over six seasons with the Trail Blazers. The 12th leading scorer in franchise history (7,328 points), McCollum ranks seventh among franchise leaders in three-point shooting percentage, eighth in free throw percentage and third in three-pointers made (823).

Selected with the 10th overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft out of Lehigh, McCollum is one of just six Trail Blazers to average at least 20.0 points in four NBA seasons. Winner of the NBA Most Improved Player Award in 2015-16, McCollum scored a career-high 50 points vs. Chicago on Jan. 31, 2018, making him one of seven Trail Blazers to reach the 50-point mark in franchise history.

In six consecutive trips to the playoffs that culminated in last season’s run to the Western Conference Finals, McCollum has averaged 19.6 points (43.9% FG, 39.4% 3-PT, 78.8% FT), 3.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 0.83 steals in 46 games (36 starts).

Jusuf Nurkic & Pau Gasol looking to 'stay strong and come back even stronger' after rehab

Jusuf Nurkic & Pau Gasol looking to 'stay strong and come back even stronger' after rehab

Two extremely well known international basketball players are now united on the Portland Trail Blazers.

At Pau Gasol’s introductory press conference on Monday afternoon, which included Gasol, Blazers President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey and Blazers Head Coach Terry Stotts, Olshey noted that the Trail Blazers ‘Health and Performance’ coaches have already or will be spending time with both Gasol and Jusuf Nurkic overseas.  

On Monday’s conference call, Olshey gave an update on the Bosnian Beast.

“Nurk’s doing well. Jess Ellis, our head of H & P, was in Bosnia working with him, as a matter of fact, then he stopped off and spent a couple of days with Pau in Madrid,” Olshey said.

“Logan Sullivan, who also works with us in H & P will be heading over [to Bosnia] in two weeks, to spend a couple of weeks with Nurk again. He’ll stop over and see Pau as well,” Olshey added.

It was on March 26th of this year that the Trail Blazers center sustained compound fractures to his left tibia and fibula with just over two minutes remaining in the second overtime of Portland’s win over the Brooklyn Nets.

Nurkic underwent “successful surgery” the following day to repair the lower left leg injury.

The last official word from the team on Nurk’s status was as follows:

There is no timetable for his return to basketball activity. His status will be updated as appropriate.

That statement came from a Trail Blazers press release the night of Nurkic’s injury.

There is still no official timeline at this point, but the 24-year-old’s progression is apparent to the Blazers organization.

“He’s progressing,” Olshey said. “He’s doing well. His timeline is still the same. I mean, we’re not gonna put a return date on it cause we’re still too far out, but I will say that he is absolutely on or ahead of schedule at this point.”

Earlier this summer Trail Blazers performance coach Ben Kenyon shared a video to his Instagram page so fans could get a glimpe at Nurkic’s recovery. The video, which was posted in early June, showed Nurk doing some light agility ladder work and him using a rowing machine.

The assumption now is that Gasol will be the backup center for the Trail Blazers, while Hassan Whiteside gets the starting nod at the five until Nurkic is healthy enough to play.

This tweet from Gasol on March 25th, the night that all of Rip City held its breath after learning of Nurkic’s injury, may just sum up how perfect it is that the two are uniting as teammates.

Gasol at 39 years old is coming off foot surgery and is hoping to come back stronger this season, but he had also wished the same for Nurkic.

Now Rip City will look to witness these two big men ‘stay strong and come back even stronger.’ 

Pau Gasol eager to help out Blazers: “I love mentoring, I look forward to it”

Pau Gasol eager to help out Blazers: “I love mentoring, I look forward to it”

The Portland Trail Blazers roster is set.

Fourteen players are under contract, one below the league’s maximum.

At 39 years old, Pau Gasol is the newest member of the team.

Monday afternoon marked the first chance for reporters from all around the world to hear from Gasol since his signing in Portland was made official.  

The introductory press conference took place on a conference call that included Gasol, Blazers President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey and Blazers Head Coach Terry Stotts.

“This is the roster we’re going to start the regular season with… We think we did really well the offseason. We think we filled some holes. We looked at areas where we were vulnerable last year in the postseason. We were really successful, but there were things we clearly could have had more solutions to some of the challenges we faced in the Conference Finals [vs. the Golden State Warriors], and we think we’ve addressed those,” Olshey said. 

Gasol had high praise of the Trail Blazers organization during his introductory press conferen

"The Portland Trail Blazers are a special franchise with incredible history," Gasol said. "I’m just happy and thankful for the opportunity." 

[RELATED]: Pau Gasol: just about as close as you can get to perfect for this team at this time

But perhaps what was the most talked about topic on the thirty-minute call, which featured local Portland reporters and reporters from all over the world, was Gasol’s eagerness to play a big role as a mentor to the young Blazers squad.

“I'll do as much as I can, and as much as asked by the coaching staff, by Terry and the staff and try to contribute as much as on the floor and off the floor,” Gasol said. “Obviously at this point in my career I have a lot of experience and I can help the younger guys understand what it takes, how to get better, how to be a better player, what it takes to win.”

Gasol continued by saying, “We have great players, young players that can continue to grow and continue to perform at a higher level which also, I think, is exciting for me to be around them and to push them to be better everyday, every game.”

For Coach Stotts, he feels there is no question that Gasol will fit on and off the court, and that his leadership will be instrumental in Portland’s success this season.

“He’s a winning player. His game, I think really fits with what we want to do and how we want to play. His versatility as far as playing four and five, he can play with Hassan [Whiteside], he can play with Zach [Collins], he can play the five by himself,” Stotts said.

[RELATED]: Pau Gasol to Trail Blazers a great fit in the locker room, likely means more small ball

Olshey echoed those sentiments.

“Obviously, we all know he has an incredible IQ for the game, but he’s also been in the league for 19 years. He knows what he wants and where he can be successful,” Olshey said.

Coach Stotts is especially looking forward to having a mentor for the current big men on the roster:

“The bonus is that because he’s a winning player and he’s won where he has been, and what he can give not only basketball wise, but just what it takes to be a Hall of Fame type of player to Hassan and Zach in particular at that position, that’s a bonus for us.”

That added bonus of the Gasol singing is what Gasol himself is most looking forward to.

“I’m going to teach them the things that I’ve learned… I am excited about it because once you get to this stage of your career it becomes a very fulfilling aspect of the game, to share knowledge… and help the younger guys just like other veterans have helped me along in my younger years… I love mentoring, I look forward to it,” Gasol said.

Trail Blazers fans have been showing their excitement and love for the signing of Gasol all over social media.

On Monday, Gasol returned the favor. 

“It's a city that loves basketball and all their fans are incredibly devoted and loyal to their team," Gasol said.

“What made me accept the offer from the Blazers is they’re a great team, one of the best in the league. They're trending up, they're very hungry, their culture is great,” Gasol added.

As the two-time NBA champion continues to work with his trainer in Madrid while rehabbing his left foot, which he had surgery on in April, he is eager to come back this season and get back on the floor.

 "I think my expectations are to be completely cleared and free to compete during training camp. Those are my expectations," Gasol said. “I had a rough season last year with the injury. I decided to take the surgery when I did because it would give me a chance to be back and ready for training camp…  If I'm cleared to play, I'm the first one that cannot wait to play competitive basketball and get to it.”

It’s clear Gasol is not worrying about what’s next beyond this season. The six-time NBA All-Star is not getting ahead of himself.

“All my focus will be on the season, and the Portland Trail Blazers, and me giving my best every single day. That’s my approach. What’s going to come after the season I don’t know,” Gasol said.

Even at 39, Gasol admitted he was not ready to hang it up because of his “love for the game.”

Gasol still really has “a huge passion and fire” for what he does.

Get ready Rip City, that 19-years of fire and passion is heading to Portland.

Hassan Whiteside shows love for Portland and is excited about his 'fresh start'

Hassan Whiteside shows love for Portland and is excited about his 'fresh start'

LAS VEGAS – ‘There’s no place like home,’ – a prominent quote from the movie Wizard of Oz that automatically makes you think of Dorothy wearing her ruby red slippers. 

For the newest Trail Blazer Hassan Whiteside there’s no place like his new home, Portland, OR.

Whiteside was either channeling his inner Wizard of Oz or he was just showcasing his style on Thursday evening in Las Vegas while wearing sparkly ruby red shoes.  

The Trail Blazers held Thursday’s introductory news conference at the Thomas and Mack Center on the campus of UNLV before Portland tipped off its fourth Summer League game. Blazers President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey and head coach Terry Stotts were in attendance.

The Blazers are excited to finally have their guy they wanted three years ago after the four-team trade for Whiteside with the Miami Heat became official on Thursday.

“Hassan’s a player we’ve pursued multiple times in free agency. We’ve chased him through trades with the Heat. We finally find some traction… We’re thrilled to have him,” Olshey said to start off the new conference.

Maybe it was Whiteside’s Blazer red shoes and shirt or maybe it was his infectious smile that gave it away, but there is no doubt Whiteside is very much looking forward to this new chapter with Portland.

“What makes me excited about joining, is just the movement and how much they did in these last couple of years, going to the Western Conference Finals… And they have two guards, guys that you have to guard once they get out of their car in the parking lot… Those guys are big time shooters,” Whiteside said.

“I think I describe it as a perfect situation. You ever been on the beach, just chilling and drinking a nice water looking out at the sunset? That’s how I feel,” Whiteside continued.

Whiteside joked ‘yes, a water,” after saying the beach comment.

The 30-year-old is already bringing the laughs.

With Trail Blazers starting center Jusuf Nurkic sidelined for the foreseeable future, both Stotts and Olshey acknowledged how important the trade to acquire Whiteside was to this year’s team.

Stotts also said he plans to “put [Whiteside] in a lot the same situations that we put Nurk.”

For his career, Whiteside holds averages of 13.4 points, 11.4 rebounds, and 2.3 blocks per game.

Before Whiteside was formally introduced in Vegas, he spent a couple of days in Portland.

Whiteside said he is already feeling the Rip City love.

“It’s so nice. People are so nice in Portland,” Whiteside said. “I heard so many welcome to Portlands… They really embrace me. It feels like a close-knit town that really loves the Blazers. I tell people all the time this is the only arena where you can come out in the lay-up line and when you go through warm-ups, you look into the stands and it’s like 60 percent of the fans are already waiting on you.”

There has been a lot of chatter about how Whiteside’s situation with Miami went south over the last couple of seasons and that maybe he has been a bad locker room guy.

To that, there is one thing Whitside would like his new fan base to know:

“Just how much I care…”

“I think a lot of stuff, if we did have a problem, it’s because we were losing and as a competitor you always want to win,” Whiteside said. “You know, I feel like it was a down year since we didn’t make the playoffs and that does something to you in the offseason.”

“You at home watching other teams play, you want to be out there. I think that’s what I really want them to know that how much I care about working and getting better. This a fresh start and realistically I really think that this team is on the verge of doing something really special,” Whiteside added.

Trail Blazers fans in attendance of Summer League showed their love to Whiteside by asking to take pictures with the Blazers big man and telling him how excited they are to have him in Portland.

Whiteside can now rock those red shoes while saying, there’s no place like home in Portland, OR.

Official: Trail Blazers acquire Hassan Whiteside from Miami in multi-team deal

Official: Trail Blazers acquire Hassan Whiteside from Miami in multi-team deal

The Portland Trail Blazers have acquired center Hassan Whiteside from the Miami Heat in a four-team deal that will send forward Maurice Harkless to the LA Clippers and center Meyers Leonardto the Heat, it was announced today by president of basketball operations Neil Olshey.  

"Acquiring Hassan is an impact move for our roster,” said Olshey. “He is an elite shot blocker, rebounder and paint presence on both ends of the floor. We have pursued Hassan through multiple avenues at various times in his career and are ecstatic to be adding him to our organization”.

Whiteside, 30, averaged 12.3 points (57.1% FG, 44.9% FT), 11.3 rebounds, 1.89 blocks and 23.3 minutes in 72 games (53 starts) for Miami during the 2018-19 season.  

A seven-year NBA veteran, Whiteside (7-0, 265) holds career averages of 13.4 points (57.4% FG, 59.3% FT), 11.4 rebounds, 2.33 blocks and 26.0 minutes in 343 games (259 starts) with Miami and Sacramento. Originally selected by Sacramento with the 33rd overall pick of the 2010 NBA Draft, Whiteside played two seasons for the Kings and has spent the last five seasons with the Heat. He led the NBA in blocks per game during the 2015-16 season (3.68) and rebounds per game during the 2016-17 season (14.1).

The trade also sends Jimmy Butler from Philadelphia to Miami, Josh Richardson from Miami to Philadelphia and a future first round draft pick goes from Miami to the Clippers.

In four seasons with the Trail Blazers, Harkless averaged 7.7 points (49.1% FG, 33.0% 3-PT, 64.6% FT), 3.8 rebounds, 1.0 assist, 0.91 steal and 23.2 minutes in 274 games (172 starts). He was acquired by Portland in a trade with Orlando on July 14, 2015.

Leonard was selected by the Trail Blazers with the 11th pick in the 2012 NBA Draft. He appeared in 393 games (42 starts) over seven seasons in Portland, posting averages of 5.6 points (47.9% FG, 38.5% 3-PT, 82.8% FT), 3.7 rebounds, 0.9 assists and 15.5 minutes.