Tag:Portland Trail Blazers
Posted on: November 30, 2011 11:09 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2011 11:20 pm
 

Blazers C Greg Oden out until January at earliest

Posted by Ben Gollivergreg-oden

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The endless wait continues.

Portland Trail Blazers center Greg Oden, who last appeared in an NBA game on Dec. 5, 2009, will not be ready for the start of the 2011-2012 NBA regular season.

Portland Trail Blazers president Larry Miller made the news official while continuing to express full support for the oft-injured center during a meeting with reporters at the Rose Garden on Wednesday. Miller made it sound like Oden's return to Portland is a foregone conclusion despite the fact that he is a restricted free agent.

"Greg is a part of our Plan A," Miller said.

Back in October, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2007 NBA draft informed fans on Facebook that he had begun running, but The Oregonian recently reported that Oden has not yet been cleared for basketball activities during his current rehabilitation from knee surgery.

Last summer, Bill Duffy, Oden's agent, said that they were targeting a potential return in January. Miller said that's still the plan.

"He won't be ready for the start of the season but we're hoping by January that he's able to play," Miller said.

A January return would come 25 months since Oden last took the court and more than 13 months since his most recent microfracture knee surgery, which occurred in Nov. 2010.

Miller said that Portland's acting general manager, Chad Buchanan, called Oden's agent on Wednesday, the first day that contact between NBA teams and agents was officially permitted. Oden, 23, was tendered an $8.8 million qualifying offer by the Blazers back in June.

"Chad also talked to Greg's agent today," Miller said. "From all indications, Greg is doing very well. His rehab is going great. The doctors are pleased with where he is. Mentally it sounds like Greg is in a good place. I think he feels good about our organization and how we've supported him through all this. Hopefully Greg will be here and will be able to help us out this season."

Oden has a number of options in front of him. He can accept the team's qualifying offer and play out the season before becoming an unrestricted free agent next summer. He can open negotiations on a multi-year contract extension with the Blazers. Or, he can see if any other teams are prepared to offer him an offer sheet during the abbreviated free agency period, which the Blazers would in turn have the ability to match.

Miller said all options, including a multi-year contract extension, remain on the table. 

"We're looking at all of those," Miller said. "We are looking at having some conversations about extending, if an offer does come in we'll look at it at that point and decide if we're going to match it at that point. But we're looking at both of those situations. [A multi-year deal] is a possibility."

In the meantime, Miller said that he expects Oden to attend training camp, even if he cannot participate fully. This despite the fact that the free agency period and training camp are both scheduled to open on Dec. 9.

"He'll hopefully be in training camp," Miller said, which apparently implies that the Blazers and Oden will reach an agreement in short order. "Don't know how much activity he will be able to participate in but he should be here."
Posted on: November 30, 2011 10:02 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2011 10:04 pm
 

Blazers: Brandon Roy's future still up in air

Posted by Ben Golliverbrandon-roy

PORTLAND, Ore. -- For now, "The Natural" hangs in limbo.

With rumors swirling this week that the Portland Trail Blazers are planning to waive guard Brandon Roy using the amnesty clause, team president Larry Miller told reporters on Wednesday that the decision has not yet been made, but stopped short of saying that Roy will be in a Blazers uniform when the 2011-2012 regular season begins on Christmas.  

"No decision has been made on amnesty as of yet," Miller said. "We are still looking at every possible option that is available to us but we have not made a decision as far as Brandon or anyone at this point."

Roy, 27, is a 3-time NBA All-Star and 2-time All-NBA performer but has dealt with knee injuries since high school. He underwent arthroscopic surgeries on both knees during the 2010-2011 season and played in just 47 games. He is largely credited with leading a resurgent Blazers out of a franchise dark period, serving as the face of the franchise during three straight playoff appearances.

"For anyone who thinks that I'm just standing here saying that and it's not true, they don't know me," Miller said. "Anybody that knows me or has worked with me before, that's had interactions with me before, that's not how I operate. Again, unequivocally no definitive decision has been made about amnestying Brandon or any of our players."

The Blazers, like every NBA club, were allowed to begin contacting player agents on Wednesday morning. Miller noted that the team's acting general manager, Chad Buchanan, placed his first call to Roy's agent.

"The first call that Chad made this morning -- he counted the clock down at 5:59, 6:00 this morning -- his first call was to Brandon's agent to talk about how Brandon is doing [and ask] when we can sit down and have a conversation with Brandon," Miller said. "With everything that Brandon has done for this organization, there's no way we would make a decision like that without having conversations with them, without evaluating where he is and seeing what's going on with him."

Using the amnesty clause on Roy would remove his $15 million 2011-2012 from Portland's cap number and it would take them out of the luxury tax zone. In total, it would remove more than $63 million guaranteed of future salary commitments from their books. Under the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement, Portland could use the amnesty clause prior to the beginning of the 2011-2012 season or prior to any of the three future years left on his deal.

Miller said the Blazers plan to evaluate Roy in-person before making a decision on whether to amnesty him immediately and that the team expects him to show up for training camp, which is scheduled to begin Dec. 9.  

"That would make sense, right? Brandon has done a lot for this organization. He's been one of the people who really helped this organization around. So to make a decision like that without looking at every possible factor involved in that decision just wouldn't make sense."

The team said Wednesday that the NBA has not yet informed them of the deadline for making amnesty decisions.

Roy has spent the lockout in his hometown of Seattle working out with other NBA players from the area. Free agent guard Jamal Crawford, a close friend, and Sacramento Kings rookie guard Isaiah Thomas, a fellow University of Washington product, are among the players to vouch for Roy's game and health, even though his statistics tumbled across the board last year.

Roy's agent is painting a positive picture as well according to Miller. 

"He said that Brandon is feeling good," Miller said. "He feels like he's able to play and that he is willing to sit down and talk to us so we're going to continue that conversation. We basically have asked the agent to set up a time for Brandon to sit down with us. Hopefully, and I don't know the answer to this, because we haven't been able to talk to Brandon, I'm hoping he will be here when we open the doors tomorrow."

Still, despite all of the gratitude for Roy's services and the obvious logic in delaying the decision, Miller hinted that the financial realities and injury issues are factors the team must look at hard.

"It's not like it's unknown that Brandon had health issues last year," Miller admitted. "Everybody knows that. But, again, what Brandon did for this organization, what he's meant to this community, what he's meant to this team, there would be no way we would make a decision like this without looking at every possible factor involved."

This week, Blazers fans sent hundreds of Twitter messages to team owner Paul Allen campaigning for him to bring back Roy. Miller said those voices would be a part of the team's decision-making process, too. 

"We're going to look at every factor involved including the fan factor. For us to say, 'Hey we're just going to do this and not consider how the fans feel about it, how the community feels about it' -- we're going to look at all of that. Our goal is and continues to be to make our team better. To try to get better as a team, to try to win. That's what all of our decisions are going to be based off of."

The most genuine moment came when Miller was asked to assess the overall state of his roster, which also includes a decision on chronically-injured center Greg Oden.

"If we have a healthy Greg and a healthy Brandon we've got a great roster," Miller mused. "If there's some issues there then we've got to figure out what we are going to do."

It sounded hopeful and ominous in the same breath.
Posted on: November 29, 2011 5:51 pm
Edited on: November 30, 2011 5:47 am
 

Bulls, Warriors interested in amnestied Roy

By Matt Moore 

Brandon Roy is all of a sudden the hottest topic on the table, all thanks to his bad knees and the NBA lockout. Roy is a candidate for the Blazers to exercise their amnesty clause on, as the Oregonian reported this week. The amnesty clause allows teams to waive a player, removing his salary from the cap and subsequent luxury tax implications, while still having to pay out the rest of his contract. Under the terms of the new CBA, an auction will be held with teams who have cap room able to bid to take on all or part of the player's contract. The winning bid counts against the new team's cap, it's believed. 

Roy, they'd be on the hook for over $68 million to pay him over the next four seasons. (We'd just like to point how monumentally stupid giving Roy this extension given their prior knowledge of his health was. $68 million. Seriously.) In 2014-2015, he's on pace to pull in $19.3 million alone. (Again, stupendously stupid.) If a team in the amnesty auction were to offer $6 million and win the bid, that $6 million would be their cap hit for Roy, while the Blazers would pay the remaining balance, without it affecting their cap.

Monday we shared a report that indicated that the Timberwolves were interested in Roy. Monday night, the Contra Costa Times reported the Warriors are also in on the hunt should the Blazers release Roy. 
But the Warriors are in the market for a veteran guard, likely at shooting guard. And a couple team sources let me know that if Brandon Roy is indeed Portland’s amnesty choice, as the Oregonian reported, the Warriors are definitely interested.
via Can You Picture Brandon Roy in a Warriors Uniform? - Inside the Warriors - with Marcus Thompson.

The reality is that no one has forgotten what Roy was capable of in 2008, nor what he did to the Mavericks in that one game in Portland before the Mavericks snuffed the life out of the Blazers' season. When healthy enough, he's able to score from everywhere on the floor, attack and nail tough jumper after tough jumper. Mark Jackson could use an experienced veteran like Roy in Golden State to set an example. But there are so many questions about Roy, because of the meniscus in his knees, or lack thereof. 

ESPN reports that the Bulls are also interested in pursuing Roy, but due to their cap situation, they would have to hope he falls through all the teams with cap room's open hands first, which is highly unlikely to occur. Roy makes a lot of sense for the Bulls, who wouldn't need him to create off the dribble and who could still fit him into their defensive system. Brandon Roy on one leg is still better than Carlos Boozer on two. 

Is Roy worth the flier to see if he can contribute? Absolutely. But he comes with an inherent risk, that he could be physically unable to compete on any given night. The first question is whether he'll be amnestied. From there, the bidding war for Roy begins. 

Posted on: November 28, 2011 6:08 pm
Edited on: November 28, 2011 6:14 pm
 

Report: Rudy Fernandez wants to bail on Mavs?

Posted by Ben Golliverrudy-fernandez

Least shocking news of the day: It took less than 72 hours since the NBA's "tentative" labor deal was struck for perpetually petulant guard Rudy Fernandez to find his name in reports stating his unhappiness with the league and his preference for continuing to play in his homeland of Spain.

Spanish website ElConfidencial.com reported that Fernandez planned to travel to Dallas next week to meet with the Mavericks in an effort to arrange his immediate departure from the NBA's defending champions, potentially by buying out of his contract.

HoopsHype.com, quoting "a reliable source," quickly reported that the original report was erroneous.
“Rudy Fernandez’s plan is to join the Mavericks next week and play with them this year,” the source said. “Asking for a buyout is not an option at this moment at all. He wants to play with Dallas and do a good job there.”

“Plan A is for him to play with Dallas,” the source said. “I wouldn’t even call this plan B, more like plan C, but there’s a small chance the Mavericks could be asked to accept a buyout or asked to use the amnesty clause on Rudy if things are not looking good for him there, if there’s not a decent role for him there… Now that’s when the option of leaving Dallas would be considered. But there’s nothing true about that report right now.”
Fernandez was traded by the Portland Trail Blazers to the Mavericks on the night of the 2011 NBA Draft and has one year remaining on his rookie scale contract. Fernandez butted heads often with Blazers coach Nate McMillan as he desired a more consistent, meaningful role in Portland's rotation. Prior to the 2010-2011 season, he threatened not to show up to camp in an effort to get himself traded before relenting. He averaged 8.6 points and 2.2 rebounds per game for the Blazers last season and was virtually invisible during Portland's first round playoff series, shooting just 4-for-18 over six games.

Back in August, Fernandez inked a multi-year contract with Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid, where he played during the lockout. He is averaging 16.0 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game for Real Madrid in Spanish league play, according to DraftExpress.com. Fernandez, 26, won a gold medal for Spain at the 2011 EuroBasket tournament; his heart is clearly in Spain and it's possible that his long-term financial best interests are there, too.

This goes without saying, but the Mavericks will never, ever, ever use their amnesty clause on Fernandez, who is owed a paltry $2.1 million in 2011-2012. The Amnesty Clause can be used on any player currently on the roster at any time during the recently negotiated Collective Bargaining Agreement. It's an extremely valuable cap management tool that can help mitigate against disastrous injury or overpaying for unproductive play. With Brendan Haywood on the books for more than $45 million guaranteed through 2015-2016, there's no way Dallas owner Mark Cuban burns his Amnesty card just to make Fernandez happy. It's a pipe dream.

As for agreeing to release Fernandez, the Mavericks have no real motivation for doing so. He's an affordable, serviceable -- if somewhat emotionally erratic and unreliable -- reserve guard who adds depth to their backcourt. Dallas might need to let J.J. Barea and/or DeShawn Stevenson go during free agency, meaning there is the potential for Fernandez to get some real run. Showing up and honoring his contract is the right thing to do, even if it might not be Fernandez's first choice. No matter what, he's free to return to Real Madrid in July 2012.
Posted on: November 28, 2011 12:54 pm
 

Few teams will be using their amnesty clause?

Posted by Royce Young

There's been a whole lot of talk about the amnesty clause in the new collective bargaining agreement. Mainly a lot of talk about who the clause would be used on.

Everyone has their lists going team-by-team looking at what amnesty cuts make the most sense. It's fun to fantasize about what players could get axed, where they could go and what it could mean for each team. (A refresher: The amnesty clause allows each team to make one cut and not have the player's salary count against the cap. They do have to pay him still.)

But it sounds like the amnesty might not get quite the workout that some thought it would originally. According to the New York Times, just a couple teams could be in the market of exercising it.

"I don't think there will be very many at all [who will use it]," one team executive told the Times.

That's just right away though. Most of the league will keep the amnesty in their back pocket and hold on to it for a future screw up, er, future unfavorable contract. The executive told the Times that he thinks only three to six teams will use it in 2011-12 because most have good salary cap and luxury tax situations.

Of the teams most likely to use it right away are the Blazers and Magic with Brandon Roy and Gilbert Arenas likely getting waived. Both players have big contracts and by cutting them, both the Blazers and Magic could make a significant move to get under the luxury tax line.
Brandon Roy getting cut could be an interesting situation though. Because even though his rickety knees, he's still a really good basketball player that's only 27 years old. Remember that Portland comeback against the Mavs spurned by Roy? That stuff is still in him.

So of the teams that could target him? The Timberwolves are one, according to ESPN.com.
"Blazer coaches have been advised that using provision to waive Roy is strong possibility. AND ... new Minnesota head coach Rick Adelman, I'm told, would have level of interest in signing Roy after knee fears led to Wolves' Roy/Randy Foye 2006 draft swap."

The Star Tribune added this in regards to Roy's uncertain health:

"They at least will have an inside, informed opinion: New assistant coach Bill Bayno has seen both the old and the current Brandon Roy. Bayno, just hired away from the Blazers, has seen Roy play every night since Roy came into the league."

The Wolves, as bad as they've been, have an odd amount of depth, so they could take a chance on Roy to see if he could regain his past form. And it fits the David Kahn model of acquiring talent despite there not being really a rhyme or reason to it. Just get players; don't think about where they might fit.

Maybe a new location would be good for Roy. His situation in Portland has been contentious for a while now and with the team's frustrating injury history, a fresh start could be a really good thing for both sides.

Posted on: November 16, 2011 6:40 pm
Edited on: November 17, 2011 12:07 am
 

Report: Blazers stop GM search because of lockout

Posted by Ben Golliverlarry-miller

Shut it down.

The Portland Trail Blazers are reportedly halting their search for Rich Cho's replacement nearly six months after the team's former GM was abruptly fired back in May. 

The Oregonian reports that the Blazers don't think the search is worth it now that the players have filed antitrust lawsuits against the league.
According to an NBA source with knowledge of the Trail Blazers' thinking, the team has decided to "pause" their search for a new GM.

“There’s been a decision to push the pause button on the search,” the source said. “To go out and spend a bunch of money on a high-paying GM job doesn’t make sense right now,” the source said. “With what has happened the last week or so (in the lockout), it made a lot of sense to put the search on pause.”

With the 2011-12 season in jeopardy, the money the Blazers would have spent on a new GM will instead go to protect jobs in the organization.
This development isn't all that surprising, as Portland's search has been muddled from the beginning and apparently stalled for several months now. The team never publicly expressed a clear set of criteria for their ideal candidate and generally refused comment throughout the summer. They were looking for an excuse to back out of the search. The lockout plus this week's legal develpments combines to provide perfect cover.

While Portland's decision is not a particularly positive sign that the NBA and its players will reach a new labor deal to save a portion of the 2011-2012 season, it's not necessarily a definitive indication that the season will be lost either. Back in September, after a round of interviews produced no clear favorites, team president Larry Miller told CBSSports.com that the Blazers were prepared to enter a post-lockout period without a new GM in place. 

Blazers owner Paul Allen, the league's wealthiest owner, has reportedly emerged during the ongoing collective bargaining agreement as a staunch hard-liner and has advocated that the league address the disparity between its large-market and small-market teams. Miller said in September that none of the interviewed candidates had been forwarded to Allen for a second interview. Allen, a notoriously demanding owner, has fired two GMs -- Cho and his predecessor, Kevin Pritchard -- as well as former vice president of basketball operations Tom Penn in the last 20 months.
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: November 7, 2011 4:36 pm
Edited on: November 7, 2011 4:59 pm
 

Jamal Crawford says Blazers' interest is mutual

Posted by Ben Golliverjamal-crawford-hawks

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Portland Trail Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge has been openly recruiting free agent guard Jamal Crawford for weeks. On Sunday, Aldridge capped off that recruitment by hosting Crawford's official visit to Portland during the Rip City Basketball Classic charity game, held at the University of Portland's Chiles Center. s

Aldridge's plan had been carefully laid. Two weeks ago, he urged Blazers fans on Twitter to make Crawford "feel at home so he will sign with us!" Shortly thereafter, Miami Heat forward LeBron James began his own recruitment of Crawford, prompting Aldridge to write to James: "How are you going to try and steal Jamal Crawford from us?! I already told Portland to make him feel at home on the 6th."

Later, he told The Oregonian that the recruitment wasn't just a social media stunt.

"I would love for him to come play in Portland," Aldridge told the paper. "I put it out there so he knows I'm serious. If he really wants to do that, I wanted him to know I'm behind it." 

Aldridge even went so far as to stack the rosters so that Crawford would line up alongside Aldridge and fellow Blazers Raymond Felton and Wesley Matthews. All that work paid off.

During pre-game warm-ups on Sunday night, Crawford told CBSSports.com that the Blazers' interest in him is mutual.

"Yeah, definitely," Crawford said. "I've been watching the Blazers so long with Brandon [Roy] being one of my best friends. With LaMarcus here, Wes and Ray, it's almost close to a hometown team. I'm from Seattle. It's the closest thing we have to baketball right now." 

Crawford, 31, averaged 14.2 points and 3.2 assists for the Atlanta Hawks last season and was named the NBA's sixth man in 2010. The Hawks, after dishing out big dollar deals to guard Joe Johnson and big man Al Horford, and with forward Josh Smith on the books for big money already, opted not to offer Crawford an extension. 

"I think I would bring a little bit of everything to Portland," Crawford said. "Scoring, creating for other people. Trying to make the game easier for my teammates... I think they're a team on the rise."

That assessment was right in line with Aldridge's thought process. 

"He's a really good player," Aldridge told The Oregonian. "He doesn't mind coming off the bench. Or starting. He can bring a different dynamic to the team. He's great at pick and rolls; he's a really good shooter. When I get double teamed, it would leave him open in the corner."

Portland's backcourt currently includes Felton, who pencils in as the starting point guard, rookie Nolan Smith, who will likely be his backup and Patty Mills and Armon Johnson, who are expected to battle for third-string honors. At two guard, Matthews stepped into a starting role last year as Roy underwent dual knee surgeries but Roy promised to fight for his starting spot during exit interviews. It's possible, though, that the Blazers would use the Amnesty Clause to waive Roy. Sophomore Elliot Williams, who missed all of the 2010-2011 season after knee surgeries, is also on the roster.

"Starting, coming off the bench, it doesn't really matter to me," Crawford said.

With both Roy and Matthews locked into long-term deals, and with the Blazers stuck in the luxury tax last season, it's difficult to imagine they will have sufficient money to pay Crawford or minutes available to play him if Roy remains on the roster. Despite the roster jam and money drain, Crawford said that he felt that he and Roy could actually play in the same backcourt together, with Crawford defending point guards and Roy defending off guards.

"We've always talked about that," Crawford said. "We play together in the summer all the time, so we've always talked about that."
 
Aldridge's home team took home a 164-157 win in Sunday night's exhibition, with Crawford throwing down a put-back dunk in the final minute to secure the victory. Crawford finished with 18 points, 10 assists, eight rebounds, a block and a steal. He drew plenty of cheers from the sold out crowd of 5,000 fans. Roy, who was scheduled to play, did not attend the game, and Aldridge said that Roy was absent because he was attending to a family matter.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com