Blazers continue making big changes
One thing is clear. The Trail Blazers were not going to stand pat after reaching the NBA Western Conference finals last season.
Portland, facing some issues with free agency going into the summer swap meet, on Monday traded two more players under contract — center/forward Meyers Leonard and forward Moe Harkless — to the Miami Heat for Hassan Whiteside, a 7-0 center entering his eighth year in the NBA.
He's the new Enes Kanter, in effect supplanting the big man who came to the Blazers during last season but became a free agent and will now go to the Boston Celtics for two years and $10 million.
Whiteside will join other newcomers to Portland in 6-5 guard Kent Bazemore, acquired last week from the Atlanta Hawks for guard/forward Evan Turner; 6-8 forward Jaylen Hoard, a national team player for France who wasn't drafted last month out of Wake Forest, and first-round draft pick Nassir Little, a 6-7 forward from North Carolina taken No. 25 overall who will start his career earning $2.1 million-plus as a rookie.
Whiteside is entering the final year of a four-year, $98 million contract he signed with Miami in summer 2016.
Last season, he averaged 12.3 points and 11.3 rebounds in 23.3 minutes per game.
The Blazers also are re-signing guard/forward Rodney Hood, addding 6-8 Croatian forward Mario Hezonja via free agency and ink guard Damian Lillard to a "supermax" contract worth $196 million over four seasons.
Portland will have a new look at forward next season, with the departure of starters Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu, who signed with the Orlando Magic for three years and $29 million.
And Whiteside figures to play a lot, especially while center Jusuf Nurkic recovers from his late-season injury of 2019.
• Portland also announced its summer league roster for play in Las Vegas. Little, who signed his rookie contract, will be on the team, along with second-year returning Blazers Anfernee Simons and Gary Trent Jr., and Hoard and returning big man Skal Labissiere.
Hoard has a two-way contract, which means he can spend up to 45 days on the NBA roster and play the rest of the season in the NBA G League.
The Blazers' first game is 12:30 p.m. Saturday against Denver.
• The Blazers' coaching staff changes have been announced, with Nabe Tibbetts promoted to associated head coach and Jannero Pargo hired as an assistant in the wake of the loss of David Vanterpool, now associate head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Hillsboro 6, VANCOUVER 3
The Hops rallied with four runs in the top of the ninth inning to claim their series opener at Vancouver.
The Canadians led 3-2 through eight innings at Nat Bailey Stadium.
Andy Yerzy's leadoff hit sparked the comeback. Daniel Wasinger had a two-run single that put Hillsboro in front. David Garza added an RBI double, and Jesus Marriaga drew a walk with the bases loaded.
Jake Polancic, from Langley, British Columbia, returned Vancouver 1-2-3 in the eighth and claimed his first win of the season before the sellout crowd of 6,441 on Canada Day.
Bryan Menendez set down the Canadians in order in the ninth for his second save.
Hillsboro's fourth straight win lifted their record to 12-6, best in the Single-A Northwest League and one game ahead of the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes in the South Division.
The Hops and Canadians will meet again at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.