Blazers Beat: Powell returns; Melo a Laker; Summer League roster
Following Portland's NBA team ...
Free agency — The Trail Blazers and guard Norman Powell have agreed on a five-year, $90 million deal for his return to the team, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
Monday was the first day of the NBA free agency period.
The Blazers have agreed on a one-year deal with post Cody Zeller, according to Wojnarowski.
He's averaged 8.7 points and six rebounds during his tenure with Charlotte.
HoopsHype reports that the Blazers have agreed to a contract with guard Ben McLemore. He's played eight NBA seasons, averaging, 8.9 points.
Portland wasn't going to extend the $7 million qualifying offer to Zach Collins, making him a free agent, and Collins reportedly agreed to a three-year, $22 million contract with San Antonio.
In his first four seasons, Collins played in only 154 games, averaging 5.7 points and 4.0 rebounds; he played only 11 games in 2019-20 and none in 2020-21.
On Tuesday, Carmelo Anthony and the Los Angeles Lakers agreed to a one-year contract.
Also on Tuesday, the Blazers and forward Tony Snell agreed on a one-year deal, according to Wojnarowski. He was a reserve player for Atlanta last season.
On Wednesday, it was reported that Enes Kanter left to sign a one-year deal with Boston. The Blazers agreed to a deal with Zeller a couple days earlier.
Summer league — The Portland team begins play in the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas at 3 p.m. Aug. 8 against Charlotte in Las Vegas (NBA TV), followed by matchups with Los Angeles Clippers (8 p.m. Aug. 10, ESPNU), Indiana (3 p.m. Aug. 12, NBA TV) and Phoenix (6 p.m. Aug. 14, NBA TV). There could be a fifth game.
On Tuesday, the Blazers released the roster:
Michael Beasley, Antonio Blakeney, Greg Brown III, Jordan Crawford, Milton Doyle, CJ Elleby, Kenneth Faried, George King, Nassir Little, Erik McCree, Emmanuel Mudiay, Kobi Simmons, Mark Vital, Trendon Watford, Kaleb Wesson.
Watford signs — Forward Trendon Watford has signed a two-way contract with Portland. The 20-year-old averaged 16.3 points and 7.4 rebounds in 28 games at LSU in 2020-21.
Assistant coaches — Portland officially announced its assistant coaches for Chauncey Billups on Monday. Here's info from a news release from the team:
The Portland Trail Blazers have hired Scott Brooks, Roy Rogers, Steve Hetzel, Edniesha Curry and Milt Palacio as assistant coaches and Parker Hines as video coordinator, adding to head coach Chauncey Billups' staff, it was announced today by president of basketball operations Neil Olshey.
Brooks joins the Trail Blazers after serving as the head coach of the Washington Wizards for the last five seasons. In 12 seasons as a head coach with Oklahoma City (2008-15) and Washington, Brooks has a career record of 521-414 (.557). The 2010 NBA Coach of the Year, Brooks has led his teams to eight playoff berths, including a trip to the NBA Finals in 2012 and Western Conference Finals appearances in 2011 and 2014. He has four 50-win seasons to his credit, including a 60-22 mark with the Thunder during the 2012-13 season. Before becoming a head coach, Brooks worked as an assistant coach with Seattle/Oklahoma City (2007-08), Sacramento (2006-07) and Denver (2003-06).
A native of Lathrop, California, Brooks played collegiately at Texas Christian University, San Joaquin Delta College and UC Irvine before embarking on a 10-year NBA career with Philadelphia, Minnesota, Houston, Dallas, New York and Cleveland. Brooks won an NBA championship in 1994 as a member of the Houston Rockets.
Meanwhile, The Blazers have hired their first female assistant coach. Curry joins the coaching staff from the University of Maine where she was an assistant coach with the men's basketball team from 2018-21. She previously served as a player development and assistant coach for the Maine women's basketball program from 2015-17. Curry is a graduate of the NBA Assistant Coaches' Program where she gained experience working at the NBA Draft Combine and the NBA G League Showcase. In 2019, Curry served as a guest coach for San Antonio's summer league team and assisted with Minnesota's pre-draft workouts. She has also coached and done player development work internationally in Vietnam, China, Israel and Palestine. As a player, Curry played in the WNBA for Phoenix and Los Angeles along with teams overseas in Greece, Poland, Israel and Hungary from 2002-09. It is a return to the Pacific Northwest for Curry, who graduated from the University of Oregon, where she played the final two seasons of her college career.
NBA draft — The Trail Blazers' selection of Greg Brown III out of Texas with the No. 43 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft was generally well received by NBA observers.
He wasn't dominant in his one season at Texas, but the 6-9, 205-pound Brown averaged 9.3 points, 6.2 rebounds and 1.0 blocks in 26 games (24 starts). Described as a tremendous athlete, some of his biggest contributions as a freshman for the Longhorns were on defense — something the Blazers certainly can use.
Brown is a raw talent who isn't likely to help Damian Lillard bring a title to town soon. But, with the immediate future of Lillard and the Blazers anything but settled, he seems like an asset who might blossom into a special player — or be an important asset in a meaningful trade, perhaps.
Lillard upset — Lillard had a Twitter feud with longtime NBA writer Henry Abbott, who characterized Lillard as being negative about his future with the Trail Blazers, as the star guard went through preparations with Team USA for the Olympics.
(Lillard has said he wants to see Neil Olshey, president of basketball operations, and management improve the team to make it an NBA contender — now).
Lillard responded with a terse text to Abbott: "I never denied where I stood following the season. Don't loop me in (because) of the state of the game right now. What you are reporting is simply not the facts bro. I'm the ultimate source."
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