Tag:Portland Trail Blazers
Posted on: August 3, 2010 8:11 pm
Edited on: August 3, 2010 10:10 pm

NBA on Christmas: 'Tis the season for good games

Posted by Royce Young

The big, highlight games have been announced . And other than the playoffs, the NBA's brighest stage is probably the Christmas Day games. So who gets the spotlight on the best holiday of all? And exactly how good are those matchups? Let's look (all times Eastern):

Game 1: Bulls at Knicks, 12:00, ESPN
A classic for Christmas Day. Of course the Knicks had to be included and matching them against the young, exciting Bulls is solid. Putting the game in Madison Square Garden is an obvious must and maybe, just maybe, the Knicks will be in the discussion in the East. Maybe.

Derrick Rose is a must-watch player and with Amar'e Stoudemire back with Mike D'Antoni, the Knicks will be a fun team to watch. Plus, I might be the only one that cares about such things, but I think both sets of uniforms look really good together on the court.

Score 3.5 out of 5 Santa Clauses

Game 2: Celtics at Magic, 2:30, ABC
A rematch of last season's Eastern Conference Finals and a rematch of last year's Christmas game that was played in Boston. No doubt we'll get a grinder as both squads are quality defensive teams, so this might be a decent game to have on as you take a light nap on the sofa following some Christmas ham.

There could be some added intrigue as well if Shaq finishes off signing with the Celtics. Any time Shaq and Dwight Howard square off, it's good stuff.

Score: 4 out of 5 Santa Clauses

Game 3: Heat at Lakers, 5:00, ABC
You knew the Heat would be involved for Christmas. And you knew the Lakers would be too. But having them play each other ? Brilliant.

The storylines will be plentiful in the lead-up to this game. Kobe versus the Miami trio. A potential Finals preview. LeBron versus Kobe. Bosh versus Gasol. Pat Riley's team back in Los Angeles. Christmas in LA. It goes on and on. Other than LeBron's return to Cleveland, this will probably be the most hyped game of the season and for really good reason.

Score: 5 out 5 Santa Clauses

Game 4: Nuggets at Thunder, 8:00, ESPN
Kevin Durant is now garnering the national attention he deserves, so the young star gets primetime on Christmas Day. The OKC crowd will be fired up for ESPN's cameras and the game will be a good one. It features two Western Conference contenders and Northwest Division rivals. It's Carmelo versus KD and Westbrook versus Chauncey. The Thunder and Nuggets almost always provide some drama and the potential for a late-game showdown between KD and 'Melo would be quite a late gift on Christmas.

Score: 4.5 out of 5 Santa Clauses

Game 5: Trail Blazers at Warriors, 10:30, ESPN
The is the second straight year the Warriors have been featured in this slot, with both games being played at Oracle. It's slighty weird that the Warriors get this game, but the team is always exciting and the home crowd in Golden State is always excellent. The Warriors will run and the Blazers will slow everything down and play at a ridiculous low pace. Contrasting styles, an amped crowd and Steph Curry are good reasons to stay up late and take this one in.

Score: 3 out of 5 Santa Clauses
Posted on: August 3, 2010 8:10 pm
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Posted on: August 2, 2010 10:34 am
Edited on: August 2, 2010 10:42 am

Shootaround: 8.2.10

Posted by Royce Young
  • Hedo Turkoglu on Bryan Colangelo and the Raptors: “People have to realize something is wrong with that organization and nobody wants to go there any more,” he said in a phone interview from Turkey, where he is captaining the Turkish national team at the World Championships. “It’s not just the players who see this.”
  • Ailine Voison of the Sac Bee has some tough words for Tyreke Evans: "You have to watch the entire video to appreciate the speed, the danger, the prolonged recklessness of the Tyreke Evans speeding incident on May 31. If this were a video game, someone would be dead by now. But enough about the visceral reaction to Evans' mischief behind the wheel. The courts and the CHP have handled the matter – the video was released Friday – professionally and judiciously. The Kings' young star didn't receive special treatment because of his status as the region's most prominent sports celebrity. He cooperated and apologized. He was appropriately shaken. Nonetheless, if you're the Kings? Break out the street signs. Slow down. Stop and think. You can't hand Evans the keys to the franchise if he can't control himself on the freeway. He isn't ready to be your floor leader when he's so oblivious to his surroundings."
  • Jason Quick of The Oregonian on Rich Cho : "One thing is safe to assume about Cho: He won't be asleep on the job. Cho says on average he sleeps three, maybe four, hours a day, for reasons he can't explain. Sund said it isn't unusual for him to get an e-mail from Cho at 6 a.m. Atlanta time, prompting Sund to once reply "Don't you ever sleep?" Cho insists his lack of sleep is not because of stress."
  • Evan Turner says his poor summer league peformance is good for him : "I've been playing pretty much every day against good competition," Turner said. "It was really an eye-opener for me to get my butt kicked, but it was also a good thing, I think. That hasn't happened to me in a really long time, so it made me realize how much harder I had to work to get myself ready for training camp. I can't wait to get started and play with my new teammates and learn from them, and get ready for the season."
  • Brian Windhorst says Shaq might be considering Europe : "Sources have indicated he's even tested the market in Europe trying to land one last $10 million payday. But all of that is unlikely. Indeed, the Cavs may consider re-signing Shaq to a short deal that would pay him $5 million-$7 million and wait for a contender to get desperate to match up with the Lakers or Magic."
  • Assessing where LeBron fits in Cleveland's all-time villainry : "From firing legendary coach Paul Brown, who the team is named after, to completely uprooting Cleveland’s beloved Browns, Art Modell is the city’s original villain. In a way that only furthers the anger towards him, Modell has internalized a lot of this hate and made it part of his persona. When asked if James would surpass him as Cleveland’s most hated villain, he responded “nonsense… I don’t think there’s any basis for it.” Ultimately, James may never pass Modell as Cleveland’s number one sports villain, but he has to come back to the city at least twice every year."
  • Losing Chris Paul in two years isn't the worst case scenario, so says Michael McNamara of Hornets24/7: "As an all or nothing guy I can think of scenarios that are far worse than CP3 leaving in two years. I can imagine other players following Paul’s lead if we trade him out of fear. How do you say no to the next guy who feels entitled when you just appeased Chris Paul’s trade demands? I can imagine becoming a perennial playoff team terrified to blow up the roster; a team that overpays their own players just to remain slightly above average. (I am looking at you Atlanta)."
Posted on: July 29, 2010 1:59 pm
Edited on: August 2, 2010 1:57 pm

Offseason Reviews: Northwest Division

Posted by Royce Young

The Northwest Division has become one of the best and most competitive divisions in the league. There's rising teams, star power, a traditional great and then there's the Timberwolves. Regardless, it's a fairly fascinating groups of teams that all had quite different summers.

Utah Jazz

Added : Al Jefferson (trade), Raja Bell (free agency), Gordon Hayward (draft)
Lost : Kyle Korver (free agency), Ronnie Brewer (free agency), Carlos Boozer (free agency), Wesley Matthews

Philosophy : "Keep on keepin' on."

Lose one star player, replace him with another. It's just how this Jazz train keeps on a'rollin'. Utah scored Al Jefferson for relatively nothing and he replaces the exported Carlos Boozer quite well. The Jazz love that pick and roll and Jefferson should be able to team with Deron Williams to keep it at a high level. They also signed Raja Bell who is a pesky defensive player. However, losing Wesley Matthews stings a bit just because he was a rookie last year and appears to have a promising future ahead. But Utah just didn't want to pay the price tag to keep him.

Drafting Gordon Hayward certainly helps as he'll look to fill some of the void left by Matthews and Kyle Korver who signed with Chicago. This offseason was more of just scrambling to maintain in Utah and with the Jefferson deal, it looks like it should do that. A lot depends on the progression of Hayward because he'll see meaningful minutes, but the Jazz didn't let a mass exodus to Chicago burn down their walls.

Grade : B

Denver Nuggets

Added : Al Harrington (free agency), Shelden Williams (free agency), Brian Butch (free agency), George Karl's returned good health (hopefully)
Lost : Johan Petro (free agency), Malik Allen (free agency), Joey Graham (free agency)

Philosophy : "Staying good, but not great."

Denver is a team that feels like it's a piece away. Just one player to push them over the edge from good, competitive playoff team to great, actual contender team. So they signed Al Harrington. Is he that piece? Eh...

The reality is the Nuggets will be good. Their starting five has Chauncey Billups, Arron Afflalo, Carmelo Anthony, Harrington and Nene. That's pretty darn solid. Then instant offense with J.R. Smith off the bench, defense in Chris Andersen and quality players in Kenyon Martin and Ty Lawson. That's a pretty stout roster. But is that really good enough? This is clearly a 50-win team and it's destined for a top five seed in the West. But can it get to the Western Finals, which of course is the goal for a squad of this caliber? Again, eh...

Grade : C+

Portland Trail Blazers

Added : Luke Babbitt (draft), Eliot Williams (draft), Wesley Matthews (free agency), Marcus Camby (re-signed)
Lost : Martell Webster (trade), Juwan Howard (free agency), Travis Diener (free agency),

Philosophy : "Get right."

If there was a goal for the Blazers this offseason, it was simple. It wasn't to sign a big name or move up in the draft. It wasn't to restructure or make a big trade. It was just to get healthy.

Nobody dealt with the adversity Portland did last year. Greg Oden. Joel Pryzbilla. Brandon Roy. Nic Batum. Rudy Fernandez. All of those players missed at least some significant time because of an injury. And yet, the Blazers won 50 games and made the playoffs. That's... impressive.

But Portland didn't sit on its hands this summer. The Blazers re-signed Marcus Camby, who was huge for them down the stretch. The traded Martell Webster to grab Luke Babbitt, an extremely promising and gifted forward from Nevada. They inked Wesley Matthews to a big deal, who is someone that will give them a little scoring insurance and wing defender help. The turned over the front office and hopefully remedied any tense situations between ownership and management. Now there are talks they'll lose Fernandez who sees the logjam in the backcourt in Portland, but Matthews and Williams are worth replacements.

All in all, not a bad offseason for the Blazers. Is it enough to push ahead in the West? That depends on the factors that snuck up and bit them last year: health.

Grade : B+

Oklahoma City Thunder

Added : Cole Aldrich (trade/draft), Morris Peterson (trade), Royal Ivey (free agency), Daequan Cook (trade), Kevin Durant (contract extension)
Lost : Kevin Ollie (retirement), Etan Thomas (free agency), Kyle Weaver (waived)

Philosophy : "If you think it's good now, just wait until we grow up."

Most saw the Thunder's cap space and expected something. Something big. Something grand to take them from up-and-comer to favorite in the West. Maybe go grab Chris Bosh. Maybe make a run at Amar'e Stoudemire. Maybe flag down Carlos Boozer. Instead, Oklahoma City did what it does best: stuck to the plan.

Rather than blowing its extra cap room, OKC deferred to utilizing its assets to move up in the draft and fill a need from the ground up. This is a franchise that is absolutely committed to the long term and to player development. Most agreed the Thunder needed an tough, physical inside prescence to defend the paint and rebound. So what did they do? They went and got the best player at those two things in the draft in Cole Aldrich.

Another underrated move from OKC was acquiring Daequan Cook from Miami. The Heat were looking to dump any contract player to anyone to make room for basketball free agency apocolypse, so the Thunder got a former 3-point champ and shooting specialist at a discount price of a single second-round pick.

Oh, and one other thing: They signed Kevin Durant to a five-year extension. I'd say in terms of what the Thunder's goals were before the summer started and how it finished, they'd say mission accomplished.

Grade : B+

Minnesota Timberwolves

Added : Darko Milicic (re-signed), Michael Beasley (trade), Luke Ridnour (free agency), Delonte West (trade), Sebastian Telfair (trade), Lazar Hayward (draft), Kosta Koufos (trade), Martell Webster (trade), Wesley Johnson (draft),
Lost : Ramon Sessions (trade), Ryan Hollins (trade), Al Jefferson (trade), Delonte West (waived), Ryan Gomes (free agency), Damien Wilkins (free agency), Sasha Pavlovic (free agency), Brian Cardinal (free agency), Alando Tucket (waived), what remaining respect David Kahn had from media and fans of the NBA

Philosophy : "..."

Honestly, you know what David Kahn reminds me of a bit? Someone that likes playing fantasy football just so he can call other players, offer up deals, trade players and sign others off waivers. Sometimes it seems like Kahn makes moves just for the sake of not getting bored.

No one can determine a real plan from here. My best guess at what he's doing is trying to put together a roster Ricky Rubio likes and then build a team around that. That's all I can figure. They have a bunch of draft picks and some cap space, but those things aren't great when the man in charge doesn't know what to do with it.

What exactly is going on there though? What's the point of signing Sessions and then signing Ridnour just to trade Sessions? I don't get it. Basically Kahn traded a player he signed for $16 million for Sebastian Telfair. Huh? Then of course the Darko deal. What? Then drafting Wesley Johnson only to bring in a player via trade in Webster that plays the same position. Come again? Then trading Al Jefferson, the face of your franchise, for a couple draft picks. Excuse me?

There's just no rhyme or reason to all this right now. I have no idea what to grade it because I have no idea what the questions even are. Did they get better? I don't know. Did they get worse? I don't really know. Did they set themselves up for the future? I have no idea.

If Sam Presti and Daryl Morey are playing chess and everyone else is playing checkers, right now it looks like everyone else is playing checkers and David Kahn is playing duck-duck-goose.

Grade : D-
Posted on: July 28, 2010 10:51 am
Edited on: July 28, 2010 11:09 am

Fernandez to finally be dealt soon?

Posted by Royce Young

"" Rudy Fernandez wants to be traded. He's wanted to be traded since before the draft. The Blazers got close with a few teams, but nothing ever materialized. It even got to the point Fernandez said he preferred to return to Europe.

And currently, Portland is talking to a bunch of teams about the shooting guard, reports The Oregonian . According to the report, Boston, Chicago and New York are all in the running for Fernandez.

Some of the teams interested in Fernandez have offered a future first round draft pick, while other offers would pair Fernandez with another Blazers player, according to the report. In a story from the Chicago Tribune , James Johnson is reportedly being shopped and is part of an offer to Portland for Fernandez. If Chicago were to complete that deal, Tracy McGrady's chances to play for the Bulls just got slim.

In December 2009, Fernandez's agent Andy Miller asked the Blazers to trade Fernandez during a breakfast in New York with the Blazers' top two basketball executives, general manager Kevin Pritchard and assistant general manger Tom Penn.

And Fernandez wants out, now more than ever. He's not making quite the splash Chris Paul is, but he's unhappy with playing time and it's only going to get worse with Wesley Matthews signed. But a trade could be coming soon. 

"I've spoken to Andy and I'm aware of Rudy's feelings," general manager Rich Cho said. "But at the end of the day we are going to make the best decision for the franchise."

Miller says he expects a trade to be made in the near future. Fernandez will earn about $1.25 million next season and his contract includes a team option for 2011-12.

Posted on: July 27, 2010 11:34 am
Edited on: July 27, 2010 11:36 am

What's actually in your food at the arena?

Posted by Royce Young

A report on Outside the Lines Monday looked in detail at stadium food and the vendors that serve it.  The report compiled inspection reports for 107 venues and the results were pretty interesting. Or maybe actually, disturbing.

For instance, remember how Ted Leonsis said he was going to take everything up a notch for the Wizards' home games to make fan experience as good as it can be? Well, maybe instead of urinal cup holders he should start with removing the mice droppings for his concession stands. One hundred percent of the vendors in the Verizon Center were found in criticial violation. Yikes.

Some of the worst scores in the NBA :
  • Utah Jazz: 50 percent found in critical violation (Hot dogs waiting to be served had dropped below safe temperatures at several locations)
  • San Antonio Spurs: 48 percent (Inspectors found 18 pounds of hot dogs that had expired more than 10 days prior.)
  • Dallas Mavericks: 40 percent (Expired milk, brown lettuce and employees caught drinking or eating while they were working in the stand accounted for some of the stadium's critical violations.)
  • Portland Trail Blazers: 53 percent (In a cooler, inspectors found raw meat and seafood stored above ready-to-eat tacos during a prior inspection.)
  • Charlotte Bobcats: 73 percent (At one location, inspectors found debris under a slicer blade and pulled three pans that needed to be cleaned again.)
  • New York Knicks 61 percent (At one stand, inspectors found "53 mouse excreta" including 38 on top of a metal box underneath the cash registers in the front food-prep/service area and 15 on top of a carbonated-beverage dispensing unit.)
  • Orlando Magic: 75 percent (At a location that sells fish, inspectors found potentially hazardous ready-to-eat food not consumed/sold within a week of opening/preparation.)
  • Miami Heat: 93 percent (Critical violations included several safety issues related to electrical wiring and such equipment as gas boilers.)
  • Denver Nuggets: 67 percent (At one bar, inspectors found phorid flies, sometimes called coffin flies, in a bottle of cognac.)
So who can't wait to take their family to a ballgame and have some nachos with a side of phorid flies? Me either!

Some of the best were the Bulls and Raptors who had a stellar zero percent found in critical violation, the Thunder, the Lakers and Clippers, the Cavs, the Rockets, the Grizzlies and the 76ers. All of those scored under 20 percent.

Nobody goes to a game thinking they're getting a five star meal. And every food establishment battles these issues. But regardless, it's eye-opening. Knowing that mice poo could be near your hot dog in Madison Square Garden or raw meat next to some tacos in Portland is a little disturbing. Well, scratch that. A lot disturbing.
Posted on: July 24, 2010 1:16 pm
Edited on: July 24, 2010 1:18 pm

Report: Chris Paul prefers Orlando

Posted by Royce Young

The Chris Paul situation is heating up. He has a meeting with the team Monday that could influence him to stay or maybe to go. And now there's a report telling the world where he wants to be: Orlando.

Chris Broussard of ESPN reports the Magic have emerged as Paul's top preferred destination, supplanting the New York Knicks. In the story, Broussard mentions that while the Knicks are still high on Paul's list, he believes the Magic would be a better fit. Plus, CP3 also realizes Orlando has much more to offer New Orleans in a trade and thus believes it's a more realistic destination than New York,

CP3's desire to play in New York is largely tied to Carmelo Anthony and the chance to form a new Big 3 in the Big Apple with Amar'e Stoudemire. But that's not a guaranteed situation, especially with reports indicating Anthony prefers to re-sign with Denver. On top of that, the Knicks probably will be able to present the least attractive offer to the Hornets. Ken Berger's original report mentioned the Hornets would want to move Emeka Okafor with Paul, and if the Knicks took back Okafor, they wouldn't have the cap space to sign Anthony anyway in 2011.

Paul does have two years left on his contract so the Hornets don't have to move him by any means. But the team understands the predicament its star is in and realizes the unwanted situation new coach Monty Williams would have starting his coaching career with an unhappy star.

That's why the Hornets may indeed decide to trade Paul. But New Orleans would not limit itself to the four clubs on Paul's list, Broussard points out. Instead, the Hornets would look for the best deal for its franchise, according to his sources.

Currently the four teams Paul reportedly prefers are the Knicks, the Magic, the Mavericks and the Trail Blazers. The New Orleans Times-Picayune reported on Friday that Paul's agent Leon Rose reached out to all four teams this week. The Bobcats and Nets have also made inquiries about packaging a deal for CP3.

If Monday's meeting doesn't go well for the Paul camp, there are teams lined up ready to pony up just about anything to grab CP3. This thing is getting good. Well, that is unless you're a Hornets fan.

Posted on: July 22, 2010 8:16 am

Shootaround: 7.22.10

Posted by Royce Young
  • Brian T. Smith of The Columbian with an update on Rudy Fernandez: "Blazers are actively pursuing trade for Fernandez. Team is willing to keep Fernandez, though, and will not give him away for "free." Blazers feel that situation with Fernandez has come to a head. His continuing talk about possible move has team wanting to resolve situation. If Fernandez chooses to play elsewhere, Blazers could place him on suspended list. Team doesn't think it will come to that, though. Only way Fernandez is not on Blazers' roster at start of season is if he is traded. Team will not release him or "sell" his rights."
  • The Painted Area, one of the very best places for international basketball commentary, thinks the US is sn underdog in Turkey : "I'm certainly not counting out the U.S., but to me as of today, the signs point to Spain being the favorites to win gold, and extend a remarkable national sporting run including Rafael Nadal's Grand Slam titles, Pau Gasol's NBA championships, FIBA gold medals at the 2006 Worlds and 2009 EuroBasket plus silvers at the 2007 EuroBasket and 2008 Olympics, and football championships at the 2008 Euro and 2010 FIFA World Cup."
  • ESPN's ombudsman looks at The Decision : "ESPN can brush off concerns raised about "The Decision," but it does so at its own peril. A major component of ESPN's appeal -- a value the network has cultivated for three decades -- is that the audience trusts what it's watching. Viewers want to believe the network is treating them respectfully, openly, fairly and honestly. If not, why should they bother watching."
  • An interesting dilemma for Cleveland: Should the Cavs retire LeBron's number ? On the one hand, no way! How could anyone forgive him in Cleveland for what happened. But on the other, he's clearly the best player the franchise has ever had and led them to the most success they've had. I say no, but it's close. (via TrueHoop )
  • More on the Shaq to Atlanta situation from Hoopinion : "Shaq for $2 million next season makes far more sense than spending the MLE for X number of years on Shaq. Not that it's any more realistic than Joe Johnson agreeing to a 4-year, $60 million extension last Summer, but, hey, it's worth a shot."
  • Rony Seikaly - yes, that Rony Seikaly - has a single out . It's titled "Come With Me" and as Trey Kerby of Ball Don't Lie says, "That's certainly something."
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com