Archive for the ‘Portland Trail Blazers’ Category

A few words of advice to NBA players — when you’re dunking, avoid hitting anyone else in the head with the basketball. If you do, the ball will bounce back through the net and the refs will nullify the basket. It’s happened twice now, because James Naismith didn’t have the foresight to make a rule telling referees that dunks should count if they go through the basket. Kinda botched that one, Jimbo.

It’s rare that a perfect internet basketball video comes along, but the people at Pinwheel Babbitt Empire have done it. Just a perfect combination of player, song, highlights, captioning and chalupas.

Two thumbs up for this internet basketball video!

(via Sophia Biabia)

If you’re going to be fired after winning 51 percent of your games despite career-ending injuries to the two guys your team decided to build their franchise around, this is the best way to go out — fully-buttoned and full of grace.

Never let it be said that Nate McMillan isn’t the classiest guy around. Full text of the letter after the jump, for those of you who hate squinting.

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The Portland Trail Blazers’ 2011-12 season started terribly when Brandon Roy announced his retirement, and then it got worse. It got worse and worse and worse and worse and worse, to the point that they fell behind by 43 points in a recent loss to the Celtics, and damn near surpassed that with a 42-point loss Wednesday night to a team whose coach quit earlier that morning. And then yesterday, it got worse.

Or, if you like, better.

With two deals, and the firing of coach Nate McMillan, Portland didn’t so much press the reset button today as park a bus on top of it. They dealt Gerald Wallace to New Jersey for an expiring salary, a dead salary, and a potentially lucrative pick, and followed that with a second deal that sent Marcus Camby to Houston for Jonny Flynn, Hasheem Thabeet and a second round draft pick. They’ve enjoyed and suffered through the busiest day of anyone since Ray Liotta in “Goodfellas,” but in doing so, they may have stopped the rot.

What they didn’t do was what we most expected them to do — trade their backcourt. But it wasn’t for a lack of wanting to. Raymond Felton is in the midst of an absolutely terrible year on the court, turning it over too often, having more field goal attempts than points, demonstrating scant little understanding of time and score and yet seemingly not being too bothered about the whole thing. Off the court, he has one-upped that by leading a “revolt” against head coach Nate McMillan. In between his poor play and toxic behavior, Felton has made himself thoroughly undesirable, even (it seems) as an expiring $7.6 million contract.

The Blazers searched “desperately” for a taker for Felton, and the only option with traction was a swap with the Lakers centered around Steve Blake. But Blake has two guaranteed years of salary after this one, whereas Felton expires this summer. Felton may have been a mistake, but compounding it with another one solved nothing. So, for now at least, Felton stays.

Similarly, prized offseason acquisition Jamal Crawford was shopped all over the show, and no one offered enough. The L.A. Clippers offered Ryan Gomes, but the Blazers balked at it on account of Gomes’ guaranteed salary for next year. The same is true of the Lakers’ offer of Derek Fisher. The Timberwolves talked about a swap for Michael Beasley, but changed their minds, and the teams who competed with Portland for Crawford this summer — Chicago and Sacramento — no longer seemed interested. In between shooting 40 percent and selling out his coach, it appeared that like Felton, Crawford ruined his own trade value. And rather than committing to unwanted salary, the Blazers preferred to gamble on him opting out.

While those two survived the cull, a third supposed problem child did not. Not so long ago, whilst making known to the public the depth of the problems with Felton and Crawford, John Canzano also openly cited Camby and his “lethargy” as part of the problem with the team. Combined with the almost 350 career games that the near-38 year old has missed in his career, his declined athleticism, and almost total lack of contribution as an offensive player these days, Camby’s trade value has diminished to this point, a point where he’s dealt for nothing more than two emphatic draft busts and a pick in the 50′s.

The Blazers hope for addition by subtraction. The Rockets hope to score a cheap starter. Both might be right. For whatever reason, Houston thrives on rejects and misfits. Channeling the 1999 Spurs, they actively seek them out, which is why they had Flynn and Thabeet in the first place. It cost them a first rounder to get Flynn, and it cost them a second to move him; in light of what has transpired this season, Camby can be considered a reject, thereby continuing this trend.

Nevertheless, this is nothing but a short rental. All salaries involved in the deal were expiring. Houston had previously declined the team options on both Flynn and Thabeet, two former top six picks not even making it to the end of their rookie scale contracts. This is not the answer to Houston’s center search. This a rental for a second round pick. And Portland knows this too.

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Need something from Portland? Better hurry, because things are moving fast in Rip City.

From Yahoo! Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski:

The Portland Trail Blazers have fired coach Nate McMillan, a league source told Yahoo! Sports.

McMillan’s dismissal comes one day after the Blazers suffered a 42-point loss to the New York Knicks and on the same day they traded forward Gerald Wallace and center Marcus Camby. After a strong start to the season, Portland has lost seven of its past nine games.

Your new Trail Blazers coach is a guy named Kaleb Canales, who is not a delicious creme-filled dessert. Portland is totally committed to rebuilding, struggling mightily and had turned on McMillan, so his ouster isn’t surprising.

I’m just hoping they put some of those red alternate shorts on clearance because I could use a cheap pair of jammies.

The biggest deal of deadline day thus far sees the New Jersey Nets trade Mehmet Okur, his expiring $10.89 million salary, Shawne Williams, his not-expiring $3 million salary, and a 2012 first round pick to Portland, in exchange for Gerald Wallace.

Wallace, a one time All-Star and long-time quality player, averages nearly 13 points, 7 rebounds and 3 assists on the year, in addition to quality, versatile defense. He dramatically improves New Jersey’s weakest position, small forward, where a whole host of players have been rotated through. After deciding Stephen Graham probably wasn’t the answer, the Nets turned to Damion James. When he got hurt, Keith Bogans, Larry Owens, Andre Emmett, Gerald Green and Dennis Horner all took turns. The longest runs have been given to Williams and DeShawn Stevenson, who are shooting 29 percent and 25 percent from the field respectively. Given that they had absolutely nothing at that position, and traded absolutely no production to get it, getting a fringe All-Star is a significant upgrade to the collective nothing that went before.

But let’s not lose sight of the issue. In spite of how good he is, and how bad D-Steve has been, New Jersey are not really trading for Gerald Wallace. They are really trading for Deron Williams, again.

And inevitably, it’s all for Dwight Howard.

The entire plan, the whole thing, the whole shaboodle, everything the Nets have thrown away the last two years for, is based around Dwight. Prokhorov didn’t buy the team to get Dwight, the team isn’t moving to Brooklyn because of Dwight and they didn’t trade their only semblance of a long term plan for Deron because, at the time, they expected to get Dwight. But it did become the expectation, and it did become the plan.

It became a very good plan, too. The future looked good. Deron Williams, the impressive rookie MarShon Brooks, the probably impressive rookie Harrison Barnes, Kris Humphries, Dwight. That’s some front five. New city, new arena, new fan base, plenty of money in reserve, Jay-Z adding some luster. No depth, but that doesn’t matter. That was the plan. It was beautiful. And when Howard declined a move to the Chicago Bulls, the best team in the league, because Derrick Rose was too famous or the weather was too windy or whatever the hell reason he used, the Nets’ plan looked almost consummated. You don’t disregard Chicago and consider joining the Nets unless you really, really want to join the Nets. Up until this week, it was all-consuming.

But it didn’t work. Dwight opted in. It seems now that he didn’t really, really want to join the Nets after all.

Not yet, at least. The pipe dream still exists. Dwight didn’t sign an extension with Orlando, commit his adult life to them, or declare an undying love that would only have looked facetious by this time; instead, he merely opted in. He opted in for only one year. In 12 months time, therefore, it is more than likely to be the case that Howard — who has trolled the entire NBA media and tormented his own team’s fans for a whole year — is going to be doing it all again. And so what is a stay of execution for Orlando is essentially an adjournment for New Jersey. The plan is still to get Dwight. By this time, it rather has to be.

However, in the time in between the two, one big variable exists. While Dwight Howard opted in, Deron Williams didn’t. The whole Dwight plan was, and is, dependent upon Deron. Concurrently, keeping Deron was, and is, dependent on getting Dwight.

New Jersey knows Dwight only joins them if Deron Williams is here. It’s why they traded for him in the first place. And it’s still the case. This year, they didn’t get Dwight, even with Deron. Now, to get Dwight next year, they need to keep Deron.

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Sorry, Luke Babbitt. From here on out, you are no longer Mr. Chalupas. You are now Luke Babe-itt.

I don’t like it any more than you do, but this is how things have to happen. Once you’ve been outed as a man baby on national television, there’s no going back.

(via Blazer’s Edge)