Nik Stauskas

Everything you need to know from pregame as Trail Blazers prep for Cleveland Cavs

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NBC Sports Northwest

Everything you need to know from pregame as Trail Blazers prep for Cleveland Cavs

CLEVELAND – Nik Stauskas is just happy to land on his feet in Cleveland.

The former Trail Blazers guard, who was traded three times and released before the league's trade deadline, has been adjusting to his new NBA home with the Cavaliers.

“That whole week of being traded multiple times and just not knowing where I was going to end up, it was a little stressful, but I’m happy I landed on my feet and able to have an opportunity here in Cleveland,” Stauskas said.

Before the Blazers and Cavs tipped off on Monday, Stauskas got a chance to catch up with his former teammates.  

“It’s fun just to see everyone again, especially because with the way I got traded after practice I didn’t really get to say goodbye to everyone like I wanted to, so it was just cool to say hi to everyone again and just check in… But it’s crazy, I think the trade happened like two weeks ago, but it feels like it’s already been forever. I miss everyone,” Stausksas said.  

In 44 games for Portland, Stauskas averaged 6.1 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists. He shot 41.9 percent from the field and 34.4 percent from 3-point range.

Stauskas has played in three games so far for Cleveland since being traded. He’s averaging 3.3 points per game in 16 minutes of work.

The 25-year old had a message for the fans of Rip City before he faced his former team:

“The fans were amazing. The amount of people that I had reach out to me when I got traded, showing their support and saying that there were gonna miss me, it meant a lot and I know I was only there for like half a season, but I really felt like Portland was home and the fans treated me with nothing but love,” Stauskas said.  

In his pregame interview, Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts stressed the importance of not overlooking Cleveland, who is currently 14-46 on the season. Stotts also said he got a chance to talk with Stauskas.

“He said he misses us, that was nice,” Stotts said with a smile.

Hear from Coach Stotts:

Nik Stauskas finds new NBA home in Cleveland

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Nik Stauskas finds new NBA home in Cleveland

Nik Stauskas will play in The Land after all.

The former Trail Blazers guard, who was traded three times and released last week, has found a new NBA home with the Cavaliers. Stauskas will wear the No. 1 jersey in Cleveland. 

Stauskas was briefly with the Cavs, who acquired the 25-year-old guard from Portland as a part of a deal for Rodney Hood. Two days after being sent to Cleveland, Stauskas was traded to Houston in a three-team deal involving Alex Burks. He was later traded to Indiana ahead of the NBA Trade Deadline, where he was subsequently waived and picked up by the Cavs in free agency.

Following Stauskas' whirwind journey across the NBA, Blazers general manager Neil Olshey said he didn’t think it was fair that Stauskas, and his former teammate Wade Baldwin, were traded four times in 96 hours, but he was confident the two players would find a future home.

“I actually don’t think it’s fair,” Olshey said in an exclusive interview with Blazers insider Dwight Jaynes. “But you want to be where you’re wanted. You want to be where you’ll have a role. When the musical chairs stop, they’ll end up in a situation where they both find teams and they’ll both find good situations.”

Olshey was right. It looks like Stauskas is fitting in already.

In 44 games for Portland, Stauskas averaged 6.1 points, 1.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists. He shot 41.9 percent from the field and 34.4 percent from 3-point range. The Cavs and Blazers will next meet on Feb. 25.

Stauskas is expected to make his debut tonight, as the Cavs take on the Knicks at Quicken Loans Arena. 

Former Trail Blazers Nik Stauskas and Wade Baldwin traded yet again

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USATI

Former Trail Blazers Nik Stauskas and Wade Baldwin traded yet again

Former Trail Blazers Nik Stauskas and Wade Baldwin, who were just traded this past weekend from Portland to Cleveland as part of the Rodney Hood deal and then to Houston... Now they are on the move AGAIN...

Thursday morning ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting:

But you shouldn't expect Stauskas and Baldwin to stay with the Pacers either. 

Blazers Insider Dwight Jaynes sounded off on the Rockets-Pacers trade in the post below. 

Wednesday:

Stauskas had been in and out of the Trail Blazers rotation throughout the season. Baldwin never latched on to any significant playing time, so the deal to acquire Rodney Hood was a nice move by Portland.

For Stauskas, the move to the Pacers would technically be his 7th team in five seasons and his 5th team since 2018.

Blazers get Rodney Hood, roster spot without dealing major assets

Blazers get Rodney Hood, roster spot without dealing major assets

The Trail Blazers made a trade Sunday, certainly not a major deal but one that keeps alive -- or even enhances -- their ability to make another, bigger trade prior to Thursday’s noon (Pacific time) deadline.

Portland acquired wing Rodney Hood from Cleveland in exchange for guards Nik Stauskas and Wade Baldwin and a pair of second-round draft choices.

Hood, a 6-8 left-hander out of Duke, has averaged 12.8 points per game while shooting 36.8 percent from three-point range in his career. The 26-year-old played his first four seasons in Utah before being dealt to Cleveland.

He has been a sought-after guard/forward at the deadline and provides depth for the Trail Blazers at wing, a position that could be considered the team’s weakest.

And a few things should be pointed out: The 2-for-1 deal leaves an open roster spot for Portland, allowing the acquisition of a player being waived or bought out of a contract. And it was made without surrendering the team’s main trade assets – a quality rotation player or a first-round pick. And as far as those second-round picks? If the Blazers want one, they’ve always just traded for or bought one.

Portland Coach Terry Stotts would make no comment on the deal, apparently waiting for the trade to be confirmed by the league office.

But his players had something to say.

“I don’t like that he went to Duke,” CJ McCollum joked. “But besides that, I think he can play. He’s a solid player. He’s a big guard, good mid-range, pretty good pick-and-roll.

“I know he’s in a contract year, so he’ll be eager to get out there and play well.”

Damian Lillard said, “I love him as a player. I respect him. I remember when he was in Utah, he was breaking into the rotation and he always came in and gave them a spark. He’s a good-sized wing who can score the ball, shoot the ball, solid defender – it will be interesting to see how he will fit in with us."

Hood is in the final season of his contract but did sign a one-year qualifying offer with Cleveland, which meant he had to agree to the trade to Portland.

“He made the playoffs with Cleveland last year, he’ll make a nice addition,” McCollum added.

Of course the playoffs didn’t turn out to be a bright spot in Hood’s career. He started the team’s first playoff game but was relegated to bench duty after that. He refused to go into a game during garbage time at the end of Game 4 of the Cavs’ series against Boston, for which he later apologized.

Trail Blazers agree to deal with Cleveland for Rodney Hood

Trail Blazers agree to deal with Cleveland for Rodney Hood

Portland has been waiting for a “Woj bomb.” On Super Bowl Sunday it hit.

NBC Sports Northwest's Dwight Jaynes has confirmed an earlier Adrian Wojnarowski report that the the Trail Blazers have agreed to a deal to acquire Cleveland forward Rodney Hood for guards Nik Stauskas and Wade Baldwin along with two future second-round picks.

Hood is averaging 12.2 ppg, 2.5 rpg, and 2.0 apg. Hood is in his fifth year in the league. 

This reported trade also means the Trail Blazers will have an open roster spot.

Check back later this afternoon for more on this trade after the Trail Blazers finish Sunday's practice and media availability. 

An in and out of the lineup veteran, Nik Stauskas says it's nothing new

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An in and out of the lineup veteran, Nik Stauskas says it's nothing new

The Trail Blazers won their third game and improved to 7-3 in their last 10 games after taking care of business on Wednesday night and beating the Chicago Bulls 124-112.
The Blazers biggest lead was 19.

The biggest question mark, though -- What is going to happen with Maurice Harkless, who was out with left knee sorness, which in turn means, what is going to happen with the Trail Blazers’ rotation?   

With Harkless out Wednesday night that meant Nik Stauskas was back in the rotation after not playing in the last three games.  
In his 16 minutes of action, Stauskas shot 3-of-4 from the floor to score eight points to go along with his three assists and three rebounds.

Stauskas credited the flow of the second unit after getting back out there. 

“I think the ball was moving from side to side… we were able to get a couple stops out there…it was good player movement, we had a lot of cutting off the ball, we executed our plays well and guys were making shots,” Stauskas said.

This is talked about all the time -- You have to “stay ready” when you drop out of the rotation, but Stauskas knows how to do this all too well. 

“I’ve been doing it for five straight years now… So pretty routine for me. It’s not always fun, it’s not always easy. I’ve been around with a number of different teams now so I know how it goes. When you fall out of the rotation it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re out of the rotation forever. It just means you gotta wait for things to change, you gotta wait for your opportunity and whenever it comes you just have to stay ready…. It’s more just mental, It’s more just continuing to believe in yourself, continue to stay positive, continue to encourage your teammates and be happy for their success," Stauskas said.

“Those are the toughest things because you just tend to look at yourself and ‘ah, I’m not playing’ and you can get negative real quick so for me its about just staying positive and bringing great energy every day,” Stauskas added.

The 25-year-old shooting guard has played for a total of four different teams and is now in his fifth season. This season with the Blazers, Stauskas is averaging 6.2 points in 38 games played. 

Overall it was a big night for the Blazers’ bench in Wednesday’s win. Portland’s second unit outscored the Bulls’ bench 59-41. The Blazers’ bench was led by Seth Curry’s 17 points, while Zach Collins added 16.
Curry gave props to Stauskas for staying ready.

“Nik was great. He was active on both ends. He did a good job defensively. He knocked down shots and that’s what we need from him… He was ready to play. He continued to work on his game even when he didn’t get minutes the past few games. He was just a professional,” Curry said.

Blazers head coach Terry Stotts mentioned after the game that Stauskas had a great practice on Tuesday and Stauskas seconded that.

“I just hadn’t been in the rotation the last couple games and I was playing some one-on-one with the rooks, Anferee and Gary, just trying to make sure I’m staying ready, staying sharp and whatnot. Anytime you’re not playing you’re just trying to stay ready and keep your skills sharp, keep your conditioning up and whatnot…Coach watched practice yesterday, so maybe he liked what he was seeing and he trusted me today…glad he did,” Stauskas said.

Coach Stotts is not the only who has been taken notice of Stauskas and the Blazers' bench. Portland’s team captain Damian Lillard knows how important it is to get the Blazers’ role players playing with confidence.

“We had a lot of guys come in and play well and it’s good to just get guys feeling good about themselves and playing confident and going out there and doing it in a game. The more we can get those type of efforts out of guys and have guys believe that they can do it, the better off we will be as a group,” Lillard said.

Stotts said there has not been a plan put in place of how the Blazers will proceed with Harkless’ knee issues. Harkless has played in just 26 games this season.   

One thing is for sure though; the Blazers can count on Stauskas to put in the work in case his name is called.

“I always try to put in extra work. But just in the case where I wasn’t playing…not just shooting more, but trying to like compete. Play some one-on-one, run up and down a little bit just so you get that conditioning part of things. I feel like that’s the most important part when you’re not playing,” Stauskas added.

Next man up. 

Always stay ready.

Be a pro.

Pick your cliché but Blazers fans can rest easy knowing that a knock-down shooter in Stauskas is always ready.

Zach Collins finds his energy, but not his Zen

Zach Collins finds his energy, but not his Zen

Fouling out.

Dropping your mouth guard on the court two different times after you foul out.

Accidentally taking Damian Lillard’s chair on the bench after you drop your mouthpiece twice and foul out.

Think about that sequence of unfortunate events for a moment….

AND…

Despite all of that, when Trail Blazers backup center Zach Collins fouled out in garbage time with 1:01 left in the game, Collins still was the guy to led the second unit on both ends in the 124-112 victory over the lowly Bulls on Wednesday night.

“It’s the first time I’ve been in foul trouble in a long time, that’s a positive,” Collins said.

But there was no doubt that the big fella was frustrated with recording six fouls.

Once Collins finally found his seat and not Lillard’s, his teammates Maurice Harkless and CJ McCollum were there to calm him down.

“They were just messing with me, giving me a hard time. CJ was telling me to breathe and Moe was giving me a little shoulder rub, so they're funny,” Collins said with a big smile. 

“Yeah, he’s young so his energy is high. He just wants to be out. He gets frustrated sometimes. I reminded him to just relax. Namaste,” McCollum said with a smile.

Basketball fans can respect the energy that the Blazers 7-footer brings and for Collins, he was told to bring even a little more energy vs. the Bulls.

“A couple of coaches told me before the game, this is an energy game and we’re gonna have to come in there and be more energetic than the other team, compete harder, and that’s what we did,” Collins added.

Collins scored in double figure for the 12th time this season. The second-year player had been going through a bit of a slump and had not scored in double figures since December 25th.

Entering Wednesday’s game the Blazers bench was ranked 22nd in the league in scoring, averaging 33.9 points per game.

The Blazers’ second unit scored 56 points to Chicago’s bench of 41 points.

“They played well. Seth was aggressive. He was efficient. Zach rebounding. He did some different things for us. Meyers helped us out a lot. Stauskas was ready to play again tonight and they impacted the game,” McCollum said.

Seth Curry has been finding his rhythm offensively. Curry has now scored in double digits for the second straight game and the seventh time this season after he notched 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including 3-of-5 from three.

“We definitely played well. We kinda had a few lineups where we had our five bench guys were out there and it’s a lot of fun, moved the ball well, played at a good pace, and we kind of helped open that game up in the second half,” Curry said.

Portland’s second unit may have been more cohesive because the rotation was similar to how the Blazers started the season. Maurice Harkless (left knee soreness) did not play on Wednesday and like the start of the season, Jake Layman got the starting nod.

“I just think the lineup that we had out there tonight was really clicking. Obviously it was similar to how we started the season with that lineup, so we’ll see where it goes from here, but obviously, we played well,” Collins said.

The question still remains how long will Harkless be held out. It has been a difficult road for Harkless, but his absence, means opportunity for Nik Stauskas and the Blazers’ second unit to bring its magic that fans become accustom to at the start of the season.  

Blazers Outsiders: Grading the Blazers at the halfway point

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USA Today

Blazers Outsiders: Grading the Blazers at the halfway point

We've reached the halfway point of the season and Blazers Outsider Chris Burkhardt has taken the time to hand out his midseason report cards for the Trail Blazers. 

41 down, 41 to go. The Blazers have officially reached the halfway point of the season, and it hasn't been without its ups and downs. The Blazers started strong out of the gate, at one point holding the best record in the Western Conference. But then they hit an early season bump in the road and fell toward the bottom. Despite the rough patch the Blazers have still managed to put together one of their best first halves in recent memory. Portland currently sits at 24-17, which is two games ahead of last season's 22-19 record, and is the team's best record through 41 games since they went 30-11 in the 2014-15 season.

The Western Conference is so stacked right now, that even though the Blazers are off to their best start in four seasons they are still just the seventh best team in the west - 3.5 games behind the first place Denver Nuggets (26-12).

With all that being said, it's time we sit down and grade the Trail Blazers at the halfway point:

DAMIAN LILLARD:
Grade: A+
Damian Lillard is doing Damian Lillard things. He's averaging 26.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 6.0 assists per game. In fact, he is one of just five players in the league averaging 26 ppg, 4 rpg, and 6 apg: The other four being James Harden, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Those are all MVP candidates, and Lillard deserves to be in that conversation this season. 

CJ MCCOLLUM:
Grade: B
CJ McCollum has struggled to find his shot this season, shooting a career-worst 32.9% from three-point range. Despite his struggles from deep he has still managed to shoot 45.4% from the floor and score 20.8 points per game. He has also managed to come up clutch when the team needs him. I'll take an off shooting night if he redeems himself with buckets in crunch time. The plus side is there is still time for McCollum to find the shot and get back to his normal self.

MAURICE HARKLESS:
Grade: D
Moe Harkless has struggled all season long, but it's really no fault of his own. Harkless has tried to will himself to play but his body just is not cooperating. He has missed 15 games this year, and had to leave Portland's last game after his left knee soreness returned. He is also averaging just 5.9 points per game, his worst average since his last season in Orlando. When healthy Harkless is an integral part of the lineup. Staying healthy is the struggle. 

AL-FAROUQ AMINU:
Grade: B+
Aminu is quietly having a very strong season, nearly averaging a double-double. While his three-point percentage isn't great at 35.6%, his overall field goal percentage of 42.7% is actually the best he has shot the ball in his time in Portland. He is also averaging a career-high 8.2 rebounds per game, and his defense continues to be the best on the team.

JUSUF NURKIC:
Grade: A
The Bosnian Beast is currently in the midst of the best stretch of his career. He has scored 20 or more points in four consecutive games which is something he has never done before. He is averaging 15.3 points, 10.5 rebounds, and shooting 50.8% from the floor - All career-highs. Add in the 1.1 steals, 1.3 blocks, and 2.9 assists and Nurkic is just filling up the box score. Earlier this season he became the first player in recorded history to have a 5x5 with 20 or more points and rebounds: 24 points, 23 rebounds, 7 assists, 5 steals, and 5 blocks. Now that's a stat line. 

EVAN TURNER: 
Grade: B-
Evan Turner has been the man behind the wheel of the second unit and has been very solid doing so. While his 7.8 points per game is his lowest average since his rookie season in 2010-11, his 46.7% shooting is the best of his career. He rebounds and assists per game are also the highest they have been while in Portland, and he has easily been the Blazers second best defender all season. While he hasn't been bad, it would be nice to see him score the ball more. 

SETH CURRY:
Grade: B
Curry started the season slowly but has shaken off the rust and come into his own as of late. He is shooting a career-best 48.5% from three-point range, which leads the entire NBA (among qualifying players). If he continues to come around there is no reason he shouldn't see all his averages continue to rise and become the bench unit's go-to scorer.

NIK STAUSKAS:
Grade: C-
Stauskas started the season with a bang, scoring a career-high 24 points in the season opener and scoring in double-digits in five of the first eight games. However, he has scored double-digits in just two of the last 33 and has fallen out of the rotation.

JAKE LAYMAN:
Grade: B
Jake Layman has been the ultimate team player this season. He started the season as the starting small forward but was relegated to the end of the bench once Maurice Harkless returned. He then registered DNPs and garbage minutes. Through it all he never complained once, continued to work hard, and has since passed Stauskas on the depth chart. Lillard said last game the Layman is "instant offense," and he has proven so as of late.

ZACH COLLINS:
Grade: C
It's not that Collins has been bad, in fact, he has been pretty solid off the bench. The disappointing part for Collins is that he hasn't really made the sophomore jump we wanted and expected. While he is averaging career-highs across the board, his stats are not much better than they were last season. He is averaging just 2.6 points, .9 rebounds, and .1 assist more than he was last season. Better, but not by much. 

MEYERS LEONARD:
Grade: B-
Meyers Leonard needed to step up with the departure of Ed Davis and he has certainly done that. He is playing some of the best basketball of his career, and most importantly he has finally found a level of consistency. He has become a reliable threat from deep, shooting 41.7% on the season, and has helped anchor a strong bench unit. While he continues to be the most polarizing player in Portland, it's nice to see him finally silencing some of his critics. 

GARY TRENT JR, ANFERNEE SIMONS, WADE BALDWIN, CALEB SWANIGAN: Grade: Undecided 
None of these players have played enough this season to give a true grade. The four have combined to play in just 38 games this season, most of the minutes coming in garbage time. Trent and Simons or currently on the active roster, while Swanigan and Baldwin are on assignment in the G-League. 

You ready for a little extra hot sauce? Nik Stauskas joins The Scoop Podcast

You ready for a little extra hot sauce? Nik Stauskas joins The Scoop Podcast

This week's Trail Blazers guest is the one and only Sauce Castillo.

Yes, Nik Stauskas drops by the podcast and I found out how he learned about his saucey nickname. Which by the way, he did not think would stick, but here we are five years after Sauce Castillo came about and we are all still enjoying it! 

And, this was alarming-- Nik told me that he was "coming for my job!" And, I believe it! He was a field reporter for the NBA All-Star game for Canada’s TSN network back in 2017 and since then they have asked him back to help with Raptors postseason broadcasts. Nik says it has been cool to see how he has improved on camera over the years. 

Plus, we find out what it is exactly about Coach Terry Stotts’ system that has been such a perfect fit for him.

Also, wait until you hear about how Nik played Vince Carter one-on-one when he was just nine years old… He says he "had a like Mike moment" and after hearing the story I can't believe he was able to stay so calm and collected. 

That and much more on The Scoop Podcast below.  

Damian Lillard in Beast Mode on milestone night

Damian Lillard in Beast Mode on milestone night

Damian Lillard celebrated a milestone and the Trail Blazer bench won its battle by a mile Wednesday night. And the Blazers used a big second half to  recover from a slow start and defeat the Memphis Grizzlies 99-92.

MILESTONE NIGHT

The Portland guard put an exclamation mark on his 500th NBA game with 24 points, four assists, five rebounds, two steals and a pair of blocked shots. He made five of his eight-three point shots, too.

And this came after a first half in which he was 2-7 from the field, 0-1 from three for just four points.

But in a way, he’s got the physical conditioning and mental toughness that’s a little like another Oaklander in his prime, NFL running back Marshawn Lynch -- who seems to get better the longer the game goes.

Yes, Lillard can get into Beast Mode on occasion.

He seemed humbled about the 500th game.

“A blessing to have enough help to be out there that many times,” Lillard said. “And also to be able to do it in one uniform. I’m really thankful that from Game One, to Coach Stotts and our entire coaching staff for trusting me and allowing me to accomplish a lot of things I’ve been able to accomplish.

“An honor to be out there in good health for this great organization.”

THE BENCH ARRIVES

The Trail Blazers trailed 15-4 to open the game but closed the lead to 18-17 at the quarter break. The Grizz held a five-point lead at halftime but the Portland bench really kicked into gear in the second half, along with Lillard.

The Blazers’ second unit outscored the Memphis bench 44-14 behind 12 points and eight rebounds from Meyers Leonard, 10 points from Zach Collins, eight apiece from Seth Curry and Nik Stauskas and six from Evan Turner.

“Obviously, the bench played really well tonight,” Coach Terry Stotts said. “It was good to see them play well, play with confidence. They moved the ball well, played with a lot of energy. They were the difference in the game the way they were a few nights ago (vs. Toronto.)”

The second-unit frontcourt of Collins, Leonard and Turner played well enough that it finished the game and kept the starting frontcourt on the bench.

“We played hard and we played together and we’re playing well right now,” Leonard said of his group.

“We’re doing the little things. Offensive rebounds, second-chance points, moving the ball, playing within ourselves and trusting each other.

We’ve done a good job these last few games and we just have to continue to do so.”