Tag:Chris Johnson
Posted on: February 22, 2012 7:19 pm
Edited on: February 22, 2012 7:30 pm
 

Reports: Blazers to sign C Joel Przybilla

Joel Przybilla is reportedly headed back to Portland. (Getty Images)
Posted by Ben Golliver
 
It takes a brave man to play center for the Portland Trail Blazers, and no one ever accused Joel Przybilla of being weak-hearted.

Przybilla, an unrestricted free agent center, has reportedly agreed to sign a 1-year contract with the Blazers for the remainder of the 2011-2012 season, according to Yahoo Sports and The Oregonian.  The deal, which reportedly isn't expected to be official until this week, will reunite Przybilla with the team he spent 6.5 years with, prior to a 2011 trade deadline deal that sent him to the Charlotte Bobcats.

The news of the expected signing comes just days after the Blazers announced center Greg Oden underwent season-ending microfracture knee surgery.

Przybilla has not played during the lockout-shortened season, although his name had come up in rumors linking him to the Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls and Milwaukee Bucks

Known for clogging the middle on defense, and giving hard fouls, Przybilla was a locker room leader for the Blazers before being included in the deal that landed forward Gerald Wallace from Charlotte. Przybilla's playing time was limited during the 2010-2011 season, as he was working his way back from multiple knee surgeries. He will add depth behind starting center Marcus Camby and help fill out a frontcourt that includes All-Star forward LaMarcus Aldridge, Kurt Thomas and the seldom-used Craig Smith and Chris Johnson.

Camby is in the final year of his contract and could be a potential trade chip for the Blazers. Przybilla's presence could potentially make Camby more expendable. 

Portland currently has 15 players on its roster, meaning a player will need to be released or traded to make room for Przybilla's signing. Oden is a likely candidate, as Blazers Acting GM Chad Buchanan said this week that it was possible that he would be released following his latest surgery.

Chris Johnson and second-year guard Armon Johnson are both on minimum-salary contracts so they theoretically could be potential casualties as well. Chris Johnson is Portland's fifth big man and has not seen much time but he has shown flashes in his limited minutes, and he's well-regarded by management. Armon Johnson has played even less, spending most of the season on the inactive list and has appeared in just 1 game, playing five minutes, this year.

Przybilla, 32, is a fan favorite in Portland and has posted career averages of 4.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.5 blocks per game.
Posted on: November 7, 2011 8:29 pm
Edited on: November 7, 2011 9:58 pm
 

Frustrated players circle Wednesday on calendar

Posted by Ben Gollivernba-lockout

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Basketball games are supposed to provide both joy and despair, but usually there’s no difficulty in delineating: Just look at the final score and take a glance at both benches. The body language and facial expressions will tell a familiar story.

Things weren’t so cut-and-dry at the University of Portland on Sunday night, and not just because the college’s Chiles Center was playing host to a charity game in which tears wouldn’t be shed by the winners or losers because the result had no consequence.  Instead, every player present -- from 8-figure per year stars to unrestricted free agents, from rookie contract youngsters to a D-Leaguer who has never played a minute in the NBA -- carried both joy and despair.

That’s what happens when a for-the-fans charity game sells out, packing thousands of die-hards into a college arena, with an ongoing labor impasse lurking like a thundercloud over the entire proceedings, threatening to wipe out the entire 2011-2012 NBA season and make this charity game the first time, and the last time, that Kevin Durant, LaMarcus Aldridge, Jamal Crawford and others take the court in a city obsessed with professional basketball.

Sunday’s game came just 24 hours after NBA commissioner David Stern delivered a nationally-televised ultimatum to the NBA's players: Take the league’s offer, which isn’t particularly favorable, by Wednesday or prepare to immediately absorb the shock of a significantly worse offer. This, after rumors swirled last week of infighting among the National Basketball Players Association’s executive staff and reports surfaced about agents agitating in hopes of decertifying the union. The game itself went off without a hitch, fans left overwhelmingly happy, but the players struck a somber, frustrated tone as they took the court for warm-ups.

“It’s sickening,” said Durant, who is coming off of his rookie deal and set to earn $13.6 million in 2011-2012. “It’s sickening. Us players have sacrificed, gave up money, doing what we have to do. Now it’s on the owners. At this point it’s starting to get bad. We’ve done our thing. They’re trying to pressure us, back us into a corner and take a deal that’s not fair to us.”

Durant, the league’s scoring champion with guaranteed money coming to him from the Oklahoma City Thunder through 2015-2016, had more license for candor than anyone else in attendance. You didn't have too read too far between the lines, though, to sense a shared frustration among his peers.

“It sucks,” said Portland Trail Blazers guard Wesley Matthews, who was signed to a 5-year, full-midlevel deal in the summer of 2010. “It sucks. We’re in a bad position, the owners are in a bad position, the fans are in a worse position. Everybody wants to play basketball.”

So does that mean he is ready to vote on the league’s offer?

“I want to play basketball,” Matthews repeated, before admitting that he was dodging the question. “[I know] that’s not an answer, that’s just what I want to do.”

He later apologized directly to NBA fans.

"We are really, really sorry that there’s not an NBA season going on right now," Matthews, who stripped off his jersey after the game and gave it to a fan, said. "We want to [play]. We want it more than you guys do. We know that the NBA wouldn’t be the NBA without its fans. Just stick with us because we want this just as bad as anybody." 

31-year-old free agent guard Jamal Crawford, who could be in line for the last major pay day of his career,  wouldn’t say whether he was ready to vote or not but did say he felt that rumors of an NBPA leadership rift between executive director Billy Hunter and president Derek Fisher were off-base.

“I don't believe that,” Crawford said. “I'm not in every meeting but I don't believe that from what I've seen. This is my third [charity] game and everybody I've talked to is on the same page. I think [Derek] is doing a great job. He goes in there trying to negotiate in good faith and trying to get us the best deal.”

Crawford also wouldn’t lean one way or the other on the latest hot topic, the decertification of the union which could threaten to blow up the entire 2011-2012 season and take the labor fight to the courts, but Blazers guard Raymond Felton, who is entering the final year of his contract and will be an unrestricted free agent during the summer of 2012, said it's an option that should be considered.

“No question [decertification should be a topic of conversation],” Felton said. “If something doesn’t get done, that’s something we definitely need to sit down and talk about.”

Felton agreed with Crawford that the reported NBPA rifts were a product of the slow pace of negotiations.

“When things aren’t getting done, you’re going to hear a lot of stuff,” he said. “All the guys that I’ve talked to, everyone just wants us to get the best deal.”

Free agent big man Jeff Pendergraph, now fully recovered after missing all of 2010-2011 due to a season-ending knee injury, said the reported rifts might be explained by the looming possibility of further game cancellations.

“It’s getting to be crunch time, people are getting nervous,” Pendergraph said. ”Everything is going to start coming up. Whenever there’s head-butting [in negotiations] there will be friction like this.”

"I think everybody is anxious to play,” added second-year Blazers forward Chris Johnson, a former D-League call-up, set to earn the minimum in 2011-2012. “Everybody wants to play, it’s unfortunate what’s going on… Hopefully they get a deal done. I feel like Derek Fisher and Billy are doing things for more than themselves, they are doing something for the future. That’s why I appreciate what they are doing."

Somewhat ironically, the only player who had absolutely nothing to say on the lockout subject was Los Angeles Lakers guard Steve Blake.  It was reported by multiple outlets on Monday that Blake is pushing hard for a vote on the NBA’s current deal.

“I have no comments on that,” Blake, who signed a 4-year, $16 million deal last summer, said when asked a lockout question on Sunday.

“Nothing?” the reporter replied.

“I have no comments on that,” Blake repeated flatly.

With tip off of the charity game approaching, Durant sighed deeply when asked whether he knew when the lockout might finally be resolved.

“I wish I could tell you,” he said glumly. “As a union, we gave [up] that money, we went down on the BRI. We have a few system issues we’re trying to work out but it’s like [the owners are] not helping us at all.”

Crawford, as cool a player you’ll ever find with the ball in his hands, made it clear that he is starting to feel Stern’s deadline pressure.

“They put it out there,” he said. “It's going to be Wednesday, or whatever goes after that.”

Posted on: April 12, 2011 1:58 pm
Edited on: April 12, 2011 2:05 pm
 

Blazers sign C Earl Barron

The Portland Trail Blazers have signed free agent center Earl Barron. Posted by Ben Golliver. earl-barron

The Portland Trail Blazers had looked content to enter the NBA playoffs with their roster but then starting center Marcus Camby suffered a freak neck injury last week. Camby's absence exposed Portland's lack of interior depth, a constant problem during a season that has seen big men Greg Oden and Jeff Pendergraph go down to season-ending knee injuries. 

On Tuesday, the Blazers decided to fill their one remaining roster spot with the best available seven-footer: free agent center Earl Barron. He will be eligible for the playoffs.     
The Portland Trail Blazers have signed center Earl Barron for the remainder of the season, it was announced today by General Manager Rich Cho. Barron, 29, was a member of the 2005-06 NBA Champion Miami Heat his rookie season in the league and has played parts of five seasons with Miami (2005-08), the New York Knicks (2009-10), Phoenix Suns (2010-11) and Milwaukee Bucks (2010-11), posting career averages of 5.2 points, 3.6 rebounds, 0.5 assists and 15.1 minutes in 108 games (27 starts).
A University of Memphis product, Barron (7-0, 250) averaged 3.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 0.4 assists and 14.1 minutes in 19 games (six starts) with Phoenix and Milwaukee this season.
Barron also played parts of five seasons in the NBA Development League, making the D-League All-Star team in 2009-10 with the Iowa Energy. The Trail Blazers roster now stands at 15 players. Barron will wear jersey No. 40.
Camby is expected to return to the court this week and be available for the playoffs, so Barron is really just injury insurance. The Blazers also recently signed reserve big man Chris Johnson, who has played sparingly when Camby has been out. 

Rather than lean on Johnson or Barron should Camby go down again, Blazers coach Nate McMillan is much more likely to play a smallball lineup that shifts forward LaMarcus Aldridge into the middle. Nevertheless, the spot was open and there's very little cost associated with bringing Barron on at this point.

The signing completes a crazy year for Cho, who has signed five free agent centers in less than six months: Fabricio Oberto, Sean Marks, Jarron Collins, Johnson and now Barron.

If the playoffs started Tuesday, the Blazers would be the Western Conference's No. 6 seed. They would face off against the No. 3 seed Los Angeles Lakers.
Posted on: March 21, 2011 12:40 am
Edited on: March 21, 2011 12:48 am
 

Blazers won't retain center Jarron Collins

The Portland Trail Blazers will not retain reserve center Jarron Collins after his second 10-day contract expired. Posted by Ben Golliver.

A Portland Trail Blazers source tells CBSSports.com that the team will not sign reserve center Jarron Collins for the rest of the season, after his second 10-day contract expired on Sunday. 

Collins was initially signed to a 10-day contract on March 1. He received his second 10-day contract on March 11. The Blazers signed reserve center Chris Johnson for the rest of the season on March 14.

In five appearances, Collins averaged 0.4 points and 1.4 rebounds for the Blazers. He backed up forward LaMarcus Aldridge, who has started at center recently, and reserve center Marcus Camby.

Portland's roster now stands at 14 players.
Posted on: March 14, 2011 2:36 pm
 

Blazers sign Chris Johnson for rest of season

Posted by Royce Young

The Trail Blazers, always in need of extra big man support, signed center Chris Johnson from the D-League's Dakota Wizards for the rest of the season, the team announced Monday.

Johnson, 25, previously had signed a 10-day contract with the Blazers on Jan. 22 and played in two games for Portland, totaling four points and four rebounds in 16 minutes.

Johnson also saw time with the Celtics playing in four games between February 24 and March 4. That was a 10-day deal and he put up six points, five boards and three blocks in 32 minutes.

At 6-11, Johnson gives the Blazers good extra size inside. The fact he only weight 95 pounds could hurt him some inside. (Just kidding. He officially weighs 249 pounds, but is maybe the the thinnest player in the league.)

Johnson will play behind Marcus Camby and Jarron Collins (who was also recently signed) and also provide some needed depth behind LaMarcus Aldridge. (Right now, Gerald Wallace is Aldridge's backup.)

The 15th call-up of the 2010-11 NBA D-League season, Johnson has played in 35 games (34 starts) this season for Dakota, averaging 16.2 points (51.7% FG), 9.2 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 2.77 blocked shots in 31.8 minutes. The LSU product was named to the 2011 NBA Development League All-Star Game and tallied 10 points (5-9 FG), two rebounds, two assists and two blocks in 20 minutes of action.

The Blazers now have a full roster of 15 players. Johnson will wear No. 17.
 
 
 
 
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