Where to begin? With the league going into overdrive with so much happening during free agency and so many ridiculous trades happening you might have missed a thing or two, so many teams will be shaping up differently next year, one of these teams will be the Portland Trail Blazers.
Let’s start with the man of the hour Damian Lillard.
Lillard finished last year on a high despite being swept by Golden State, after some would say single handedly, he broke up the band in Oklahoma City, leading his team to the Conference Finals in a seven game thriller in Denver. Never the less Lillard finished last year with an average of 25 points per game and a FG% of 44% – not too bad for your franchise player – so based on all those things that’s why Neil Olshey decided to grant him a supermax contract at 194 million dollars over 4 years, now that’s why you call him Dame Dolla.
But enough about the franchise player let’s get down to the fine details. After being swept in the Western Conference finals by Golden State, the big guys up in Portland figured they would try out a new plan so they entered the draft with a pick at No. 25; no-one was expecting anything great but in fact they got a pretty good pick regardless.
They selected Nassir Little from North Carolina, who a lot off guys have claimed they worry about his consistency in games but then again others have compared him to Andre Iguodala in the sense that he can lock down the opposition’s best player in key moments throughout the game.
Onto the main trade it seems in the city off Portland…
One off the league’s best big men Hassan Whiteside, who averaged a double-double last year in scoring and rebounding – that’s exactly what you want from your five man. Whiteside got traded as part of a deal for Meyers Leonard and Moe Harkless leaving the Blazers.
Whiteside is in the final year off his max contract so he’s going to want to put on a show if he wants to get paid.
Some other trade news out of Portland,
Seth Curry left the Blazers after a great year and signs with the Dallas Mavericks for a $32 million, four-year deal.
Rodney Hood signed a new contract with the Trail Blazers for $16 million over two years. Hood earned his new deal after a crucial role in this year’s playoffs.
Al-Farouq Aminu left and signed a three-year $29 million deal with the Orlando Magic.
Mario Hezonja joined on a two-year deal.
And last but certainly not least, Enes Kanter departed and signed with the Boston Celtics on a two-year pact. It has been rumoured that Kanter wanted to stay but Portland said he had to make his decision within six minutes. Kanter said he didn’t feel that was enough time so he could not accept, although Lillard came to his franchises aid and said that Kanter had 45 minutes to decide and granted it isn’t a great amount of time, this business moves fast.
So there you have it some big names out the door but some great fresh faces making their way in. Do you think the Blazers can improve on last year? Will they compete with the Clippers and Lakers atop the West?
Do you think they are good enough? Let me know in the comments!