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NBA Off Season Update, Part 5: Northwest Division – August 20th

By Tamberlyn Richardson
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Apr 15, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Charlotte Hornets forward Noah Vonleh (11) holds the ball as Toronto Raptors guard Greivis Vasquez (21) and Raptors forward Patrick Patterson (54) defend at the Air Canada Centre. The Hornets won 92-87. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Portland Trail Blazers

ROOKIES: 

  • All the Blazers rookies were received via trade

FREE AGENTS SIGNED:

ROOKIE EXTENSION:

Portland Trailblazers and Damian Lillard reportedly reach a max agreement for 5-Years/$120M. - Source: @gamedesignspic.twitter.com/DSWotWvM9k

— The NBA Feed (@nbafeed365) July 1, 2015

TRADED TO PORTLAND :

FREE AGENTS LOST:

Damian Lillard discusses Blazers' moves, LaMarcus Aldridge leaving, retiring with Portland, rap, offseason training: http://t.co/puOOA5Uxhi

— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) August 12, 2015

TRADED FROM PORTLAND:

Unsigned:

  • Dorell Wright  rumors have the Heat interested in Wright and a team from China in talks with him as well

WAIVED:

BIG MOVE:

Looking back over the past few seasons the Trail Blazers have registered 50 plus wins and had a solid core of LaMarcus Aldridge, Damian Lillard , Wesley Matthews and Nicolas Batum. When they added Robin Lopez  their starting five became the envy of the Association, but the problem was they had no bench. This year sensing it was time for the team to take a leap, General Manager Neil Olshey took the plunge adding depth in preparation of making a deep post season run.

Unfortunately the team who always seems to be followed by bad luck suffered more than their fair share of injuries. Batum battled injury all season, Matthews tore his Achilles Tendon, Aldridge played with an injured tendon in his thumb and there were a myriad of other injuries.

It seems surreal to look at the roster today. In essence come opening night 2015-16 the Blazers we’ve become accustomed to seeing compete and have offered some of the best games of the NBA season will tip-off with only one player of their top six remaining.  I can’t even imagine how disheartened Blazers fans are!

Returning starters for the Blazers… Lillard ☑️ Matthews ✖️ Batum✖️ Aldridge ✖️ Lopez ✖️ pic.twitter.com/M8l6S02XiC

— The NBA Hub™ (@TheNBAHub) July 5, 2015

As for big moves the Blazers did make some interesting pick-ups especially in Noah Vonleh who never meshed in Charlotte. I’m unsure if it was a team chemistry issues or if it was just one of those situations where the player doesn’t mesh with  his  coach (Steve Clifford). With so many injuries and the team not producing I kept expecting to see Vonleh get more run, but it never transpired. With a decimated Blazers starting line-up I’ll be interested to see if Terry Stotts gives him that chance to go out and learn on the fly. He could be one of those players that has me snowed, but I have a feeling we could be talking about Vonleh in our Most Improved player conversation at the end of next season.

Though I’ve always wanted to see more Noah Vonleh, I can’t imagine the Blazers specifically without their heart and soul: Batum and Matthews. There are plenty of new bodies for Stotts to integrate with some talent like rookie Connaughton rumored to have a 90+MPH fastball and versatile 2-way players Aminu and Henderson. Still, when your team is signing Ed Davis for 3 years at $20 million it makes me wonder if Portland are setting themselves up for a giant drop down the ladder.

Next: Looking To Build Off Second Half

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